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Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture

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The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture has new specialist soil equipment that is improving accuracy and efficiency of soil characterisation for modelling, drainage design and irrigation management.

The new equipment will play a key role in the Water for Profit projects and will be used to characterise soils from the five demonstration sites that have been identified by the peer to peer learning groups.

The equipment will provide the peer to peer learning networks and modelling team with new knowledge about Tasmania's soils and includes

  • Guelph permeameter - This measures the hydraulic conductivity of subsoils, for design of subsoil drainage and modelling agrochemical leaching.
  • Dual head infiltrometer- This is a highly accurate means of measuring the hydraulic conductivity of surface soils for modelling and designing irrigation practices.
  • Ku-pF apparatus - Together with data from the WPF4 this determines the soil water retention curve which relates to the amount of water stored in a soil and the ability of plants to extract water from the soil. In practical terms it is used to rapidly deterring field capacity, and macroporosity. This machine replaces the need for pressure chambers, and is able to generate data from 10 soils in a week as opposed to three months with pressure chambers.
  • WP4C device - Using delicate sensors this device measures the weight of condensation in a soil sample and allows us to quickly and accurately determine the permanent wilting point in a few hours. Together with the Ku-Pf these devices enable rapid determination of plant available water, and hydrological parameters required to run most soil water models.