|The AM400 Soil Moisture Monitor:
Comments from Producers
"I can keep a close handle on
Helps me keep water out of the subsoils."
"Gives you a reading of exactly where the water is at and what its doing."
"Its a tool to manage the crop along with visual observation of the crop."
"As long as were in the business, were going to keep working with
"I dont have to remember all this stuff. I just push the damn button."
"Nobody that I know can look at the field and really tell you how dry it is beneath
You push the
button and it tells you how dry it really is."
"Its a pretty simple outfit, really
a snap to use."
"The meter said that 6 hours was all we needed. Even if it started out at 90
centibars, we got down
to 10 centibars within 6 hours."
"I looked at the monitor every day, at least, and sometimes two or three times per
"Surprised how much effect wind and humidity make on depletion of soil
The AM400 "absolutely helped my yields
much less wasted
"I might have lost the crop this summer if Id kept running 24 hour sets."
"Helps in yields."
"I may have stayed off this [wet] area for a week."
"One of our best crops ever
Definitely made a difference to my total
production. I didnt let the crop get hurt" by last summers hot dry
"The thing thats going to change water use is the
"The energy is the big concern of pretty much everybody."
"As we learn to use it, I believe we can save quite a little energy
I think this
is going to be the salvation of it if we learn how to work it."
"We used to run 5-6 hour sets through the growing season and 8-hour sets during hot
weather. This year we ran 2-hour sets in the spring, 3-hour sets through May, and 4-5 hour
sets when it got hot."
Cost: Can something like this be justified economically?
cost is "realistic for the knowledge you gain."
"Id do it
Id buy one."
"I think I would buy one. Its going to teach us something we dont
Theres a hell of a lot weve got to learn."
"I think so. It gives you an education on how to use your pumps more
makes it so its not as much of a guessing game."
"Id be interested in buying one
It would probably pay for itself in a
year, especially a wetter year
Its going to be a hell of a lot more attractive
to buy it when power rates go up."
"It costs us $1500 to $2000 every time we irrigate our fields. If it saved you one
irrigation in three to four years it would pay for itself."
"In todays farming inputs are more expensive. Crops take more inputs and more
Sooner or later, precision will be demanded."
"Theres nothing to it."
"Anybody could do it."
Its "not that high tech."
"In hindsight, we could have put the probes much closer to the box."
"I dont think you need one in every field. If there isnt a nickels
worth of difference between two fields, I dont see why youd need two
"The shorter the cable the better, unless you have something really
unique about your field."
For more information, contact:
The National Center for Appropriate Technology
Mike Morris, Project Leader, email@example.com,
406-494-8660 or 1-800-ASK-NCAT
The Montana Rivers Project
National Center for Appropriate Technology
P.O. Box 3838
3040 Continental Drive
Butte, Montana 59702