HortWatch - taking the guesswork out of growing

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Soil Moisture Monitoring

What is "Soil Moisture Monitoring"?

HortWatch Soil Moisture Monitoring offers growers the ability to accurately measure their soil moisture so that the irrigation strategy can be fine tuned to the needs of the crop. Diviner technology measures soil moisture down to a depth of 1 metre in 100 mm increments, giving accurate measurements right throughout the rooting profile, not just at one or two depths as with tensiometers.

  • Make informed decisions based on the actual conditions in which your crop is growing.
  • Calculate the amount of water the crop is using, and determine when irrigations are required.
  • No more guess work and no more worrying about whether the tensiometer water column is accurate.
Soil moisture is a critical factor in producing a high yielding quality crop. An accurate measurement of soil moisture is therefore critical to the manager who is striving for top performance.

"Up until Waimea Orchard became one of the Focus Orchards in 2001, we had been monitoring our moisture levels with standard ground irrometres. The Focus Orchard project gave us the opportunity to use the HortWatch Soil Moisture Monitoring service. This technology opened our eyes to exactly what is going on beneath our soil. This information is worth its weight in gold, as some blocks needed a lot more and some a lot less than previous monitoring indicated. No stress means maximum production, so this monitoring will be a permanent part of our operation in the future."
 - Carl Fairey, Waimea Orchard, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

So how does Soil Moisture Monitoring work?

HortWatch technicians install monitoring sites within the orchard based on your needs, taking into account factors such as irrigation blocks, different soil types, different crops or different varieties.

Our orchard monitoring staff then visit sites weekly to take readings, and results for each monitoring site are reported to you within 24 hours of the visit.

Your Reports

View sample report
Each report includes
  • a depth graph showing the moisture level down to 1 metre below surface with the full, refill and last 2 readings;
  • a time graph showing soil moisture movement over the entire season to date;
  • and a summary of the current state of the site.

These easy-to-read reports make it simple to assess:

  • The weekly water consumption of the crop
  • The efficiency of each irrigation and rainfall
  • When the next irrigation is due
  • How much needs to be applied
  • How far down crop roots extend
  • The maximum water holding capacity of the soil
  • The soil water content at which the crop becomes stressed and needs water



Monitoring by our technicians is currently available in the Hawke's Bay and Nelson areas of New Zealand.

Want to know more?

Email Michelle at or phone (06) 872 7080 to discuss your needs.

Hortwatch® is a product of AgFirst
Phone: 64 6 872 7080
Fax:     64 6 870 3629