Gloucester producers have access to real-time soil moisture data

A soil moisture probe. Photo supplied by Hunter Local Land Services

A soil moisture probe. Photo supplied by Hunter Local Land Services

Hunter Local Land Services is pleased to launch the new Hunter Soil Moisture Network, a tool to help landholders better manage their properties and livestock according to prevailing seasonal conditions.

The network provides real time data to support farmers to make decisions around management of climatic variability, natural resource management and seasonal conditions.

Gloucester is among the nine strategically positioned soil moisture probes across the Upper Hunter; each one set to one metre depth measuring soil moisture and temperature every 15 minutes.

Sustainable Agriculture Officer Sarah Giblin said the network provides data to assist landholders to make pre-emptive decisions concerning feed, fertiliser and livestock management, including timing their sales or de-stocking.

"The data collected from the probes will help increase producer confidence when making important management decisions during critical stages of the season," Sarah said. "They will also help increase producer's ability to minimise their risks when it comes to feed availability and matching their stocking rates appropriately.

The network has been modelled on the Southern Soil Moisture Network, which has been successfully running for a number of years across the South East of NSW.

Hunter Local Land Services has secured funding to further expand the network over coming months.

"We will be installing further probes across the region, including more in the Manning Great Lakes and Lower Hunter, so it becomes a truly region wide tool."

Not all the readings are currently available as the probes have been installed during drought conditions, but once there is a full wetting event HLLS will be able to provide more detailed data.

Landholders are encouraged to have a look at the data collected so far by visiting https://hunter.lls.nsw.gov.au/our-region/projects-and-programs/Soil-moisture-network-project

The soil probes are currently located at Borambil, Merriwa, Gungal, Timor, Scone, Singleton, Mt Olive and Gloucester.

This Soil Probe Network partnership project has been supported by Hunter LLS, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare program, Upper Hunter Sustainable Farmers Group, Singleton Beef and Land Management Association, MACH Energy, Glencore Australia, and Hunter Catchment Contributions.