Real-time In-situ Soil Monitoring for Agriculture (RISMA)

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Saskatchewan Network

The Saskatchewan monitoring stations were established west of Kenaston, or about 100 km south of Saskatoon, which is part of Canada’s Prairie/Boreal Plain Ecozone. The network of stations was installed in 2011 by AAFC to supplement an existing network established by Environment Canada (EC) and the University of Guelph. The EC-Guelph network supports a variety of hydrological, land surface modelling and satellite data validation research. The AAFC sites were installed on four pasture sites to supplement the existing sites that are installed primarily on annual cropland. Cereals, canola and peas are typically grown in this area. The Saskatchewan stations record precipitation, air temperature, wind direction and wind speed at 1.4-2m height as well as the real dielectric permittivity, soil moisture and soil temperature using hydra probe sensors at surface (0-5cm), 5cm, 20cm, 50cm, 100cm and 150 cm depths. Three hydra probe sensors, or replicas, record data at all depths except for 100cm and 150cm where only two sensors were installed. For more information, click here.

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Manitoba Network

The monitoring stations in the Manitoba network were established in 2011 approximately 80km southwest of Winnipeg near the town of Carman. The sites are situated in the La Salle and Boyne River watershed which are part of the larger Red River basin. The area is part of Canada’s Prairie/Boreal Plain Ecozone and was chosen to capture the diverse soil moisture conditions in the Manitoba portion of the Red River basin. The area is characterized by a distinct soil texture divide between heavy clays and clay loams to the east, and lighter sandy and sandy loam soils to the west. The stations are located at the edge of annually cropped agricultural fields with the soil moisture sensors installed within the field, about 10-30m away from the edge. Annual crops that are typically grown in this area include cereals, canola, corn, soybeans and edible beans. The Manitoba stations record precipitation with a tipping bucket rain gauge as well as real dielectric permittivity, soil moisture and soil temperature using hydra probe sensors at surface (0-5cm), 5cm, 20cm, 50cm and 100cm depths. Three hydra probe sensors, or replicas, are installed at each depth. This replication provides a measurement of spatial variability in soil moisture, and redundancy in the event of sensor malfunction. By 2014, most of the stations in the Manitoba network will be equipped with additional meteorological sensors to complement the existing data with air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and wind direction. For more information, click here.

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Ontario Network

The Ontario monitoring network was established in 2010 and 2011 by AAFC at a site of ongoing research in the development and validation of soil moisture retrieval models from active microwave satellites. The network is situated near Casselman, about 50 km east of Ottawa, in Canada’s Mixed Wood Plain Ecozone. One additional station is located on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. The location of each station was selected based on soil texture variability across this site, as well as variability at the field level. The Ontario stations are located at the edge of agricultural fields with annual crops. Annual crops that are generally grown in the area include corn and soybeans. The deeper (50 cm) soil moisture sensors are located in the field, about 5-10 m away from the edge, while the shallow sensors are located in the grass at the edge of the field to avoid interference with farming operations. The Ontario stations record precipitation data using a tipping bucket rain gauge as well as real dielectric permittivity, soil moisture and soil temperature using hydra probes at surface (0-5 cm), 5 cm, 20 cm and 50 cm. These stations have a high water table and the 100 cm sensors could not be installed. As with the other in situ sites, three hydra probe sensors record data at each depth. For more information, click here.

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Northbay

North Bay, Ontario, Research Network

The North Bay research network in Ontario was established by AAFC in 2012, in collaboration with Nipissing University. Tile drainage in this region assists with agricultural production. Thus increased knowledge of soil conditions is expected to aid in land use decision making leading to improvement in and expansion of agricultural production. The network is situated about 60 km north-west of North Bay in Canada’s Mixed Wood Plain Ecozone. Annual crops that are generally grown in the area include soybean, canola and spring wheat, with some vegetable and berry production. The North Bay stations record precipitation data using a tipping bucket rain gauge as well as real dielectric permittivity, soil moisture and soil temperature using hydra probes at surface (0-5 cm), 5 cm, 20 cm and 50 cm. As with the Ontario network near Casselman, three hydra probe sensors record data at each depth and the 50 cm sensor is located in the field while the shallow sensors are located at the edge of the field.

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