Soil moisture sensor network dashboard upgrade and soil interpretation in the Northern Wimmera

Woorak Community and Land Management Group

  • Project code: PRO-017503

  • Project stage: Current

  • Project start date: Tuesday, May 2, 2023

  • Project completion date: Saturday, September 21, 2024

  • National Priority: AFI - AgriFood Innovation


This project aims to further upskill the grain producers in Woorak’s group by value adding to the data being generated by the weather and soil moisture probe network. Whilst the data that has been able to be viewed & utilised so far has helped with decision making, there is an understanding that further analysis of soil type variation across the groups landscape coupled with more intuitive dashboard displays will assist the group with improved decision making. Such decisions will encompass field operations (weather conditions at time of application of crop protection products & harvest fire risk) as well as nutrition management & crop yield potential using the soil moisture probe data. Woorak believe that improved understanding of soil moisture with the use of a spatial layers to display data will improve the sustainability of the group’s region.
Additionally, the group will look to investigate through on-going soil testing and interpreting information about the soils where their moisture probes are located, which would include soil type and particle size, nutrient levels and soil constraints. This would also provide a comparison of different farming rotations and management from each side of neighbouring fences. From here The Woorak group wish to create algorithms within the above dashboard upgrade that is required to make risk-based decisions, alleviate any constraints to production, and reduce impact on the environment.


AgriFood Innovation

Research Organisation

Woorak Community and Land Management Group

Objective Summary

1. With the assistance of additional 3rd party professionals, we wish to investigate a suitable existing software solution to improve the visual layout of a dashboard or app that is suitable for multiple devices. Creating a user friendly dashboard suitable for our expanding network would encourage further uptake by more members and the ability to continue adding additional sites without restrictions or constraints on our existing network. If a suitable solution is not available, consideration would then be made to create a tailor-made software dashboard and app.
a. Improvements need to be made for displaying individual site information which is currently a compromise between loading times with poor phone network coverage and large amounts of data to be displayed. Improvements in this area also need to be made for faster navigation between information sets which could include a drop down selection box rather than crossing between links or displaying all information at once, which has become very difficult due to the volume of information we are collecting.
b. Comparing information has become difficult such as rainfall across sites (currently displayed on a bar graph – example can be seen as attached), or an approaching warning of a fire danger index during harvest periods. These data sets would be better displayed utilizing other visual methods such as spatial maps with pin-dropped numbers rather than scrolling through a graph.
The ability to compare information via a filter would assist in other areas such as the soil moisture charts. For example, selecting a multi-year crop rotation and then displaying a comparison of soil moisture for that specific rotation rather than having to check all sites manually to locate.
An updated display will also be required for us to successfully complete part2 of our project outlined below.
2. The interpretation of soil moisture information needs further investigating and understanding to gain more value from it. We would also like to understand more about the soils where our moisture probes are located, providing us with information about
the type and particle size, nutrient levels along with any constraints that would limit production. Due to the large variation of soil types across our district growers will then have the ability to replicate the datasets across their properties according to management zones enabling them to make better decisions benefiting both their farm businesses as well as the environment by more accurately matching inputs to crop potential. We would then like to use the collected information to create algorithms where data can be understood and compared on a historical basis to estimate our yield potential and therefore nitrogen requirements based on our real time soil moisture levels. Annual soil testing to be performed to measure long-term effects in an intensive cropping rotation which will continue past the project end date. The Woorak Community group understands the environmental challenges moving forward and hope for the project to increase awareness about the impacts and safety of incorrect nutrient use and removal and therefore make more informed decisions in our businesses.