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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 2, p. 396-401
    Received: Nov 10, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): dlong@montana.edu


A heavy-duty time domain reflectometry soil moisture probe for use in intensive field sampling

  1. Dan S. Long *a,
  2. Jon M. Wraithb and
  3. Greg Kegelc
  1. a Northern Agric. Res. Center, Montana State Univ., Havre, MT 59501
    b Dep. of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State Univ., Bozeman, MT 59717-3120
    c Dep. of Industrial and Engineering Technology, Montana State Univ., Northern Campus, Havre, MT 59501


Mapping soil water content for site-specific management of farm fields is commonly achieved through grid soil sampling. This effort frequently requires intensive soil coring, which is destructive and time consuming. Precision farming and research can be facilitated if sampling techniques are improved and made cost effective. We designed and constructed a heavy-duty time domain reflectometry (TDR) probe of simple design that fits a hydraulic soil sampling machine. The design is simple enough to be adapted to the TDR equipment and hydraulic sampler that a researcher or practitioner may already possess. The probe consists of a housing and adapter that can be fabricated in a local machine shop from materials that are easily obtainable. Probe schematics and summary soil water maps obtained using the new design are presented. As with conventional TDR probe designs, stony or indurate soils may present particular problems in effective insertion of the probe.

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Copyright © 2002. Soil Science SocietyPublished in Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.66:396–401.