Wednesday 13 – Friday 15 June 2018 | International Convention Centre, Sydney

Michael Dalton

Research Scientist, Sentek Pty. Ltd.

Michael Dalton

Research Scientist, Sentek Pty. Ltd.

Michael Dalton is a Research Scientist with Sentek in South Australia with a career spanning 30 years. Prior to joining Sentek, this involved placements at CSIRO and The University of Adelaide where he contributed to projects including: foetal growth retardation in sheep and humans, biochemical pathway investigation of plant polysaccharides and genetic engineering of wheat and barley. His interests in plant physiology, soil water and salinity now focuses his research in the development of Sentek’s electronic sensors. This work involves the use of observable soil water dynamics throughout the root zone as an indicator for the application of optimum irrigation and fertilizer management strategies.

Where: International Convention Centre, Sydney – Room E5.2 – E5.3

When: Day 3 – Friday, 15 June 2018, 12.30 – 13.00

Abstract Outline: Electronic soil moisture monitoring has been applied to many different crops over the years with great success. The Monarto Zoo has a constant need to feed its many animals and has gained some independence with this in establishing an on-site native Acacia plantation. One of the beneficiaries of this crop is the resident giraffe herd. The Monarto Zoo grows predominantly Acacia saligna, a species not native to Africa, but which the giraffes find palatable. Trees were drip irrigated in the warmest parts of the growing season and were coppiced yearly to generate fresh green growth.
Sentek soil moisture probes were installed to monitor the Volumetric Water Content throughout the profile on a near-continuous basis. An automated Weather Station was installed into the plantation to measure several environmental indices and Evapotranspiration was calculated. By combining the different data sets into graphical displays, it was possible to more fully understand the plant response to changing conditions by looking at the relative changes occurring in the soil water content. It was also possible to see soil depth water usage characteristics. These helped to inform the managers as to how much water was required and the optimal timing of irrigations throughout the day and throughout the growing season.

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