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The Use of Moisture Sensors in Pecans

Extension Education

Kyle Sanders
CEA - Agriculture
University of Arkansas Syst. Div. of Agri. Ext. Serv.



High quality pecans require water from either rainfall or irrigation. Most places rely on a combination of the two. In Arkansas, irrigation is supplemental due to the abundance of rainfall. However, considering mature pecan trees can require as much as 2000 gallons of water per week during the growing season, the timing and quantity of irrigation is important for the crop.

Agent has been conducting research at three pecan orchards (Bevis, Feland and Bransford) to determine need and timeliness of irrigation scheduling.  Soil moisture sensors were installed at 6,12,18 and 30 inches to monitor the uptake of water in the soil profile. The depth of importance for daily moisture is at the 12-to-15-inch area of the soil. The feeder roots are at this depth and run horizontally to draw in needed moisture. Each set of sensors have a telemetry unit which monitors and records the readings and makes them accessible by smart phone and an app to the agent and grower.  Readings were taken weekly. Agent was able to help the growers know when the orchard needed to be irrigated by determining the amount of water in the soil profile and how fast the trees were using the water.  In drought conditions such as the summers of 2021 and 2022 it became apparent that irrigation scheduling was vital to producing an adequate crop load.  Feedback from cooperators was extremely favorable, since “seeing is believing” and they had access to the app and could monitor tree stress in the orchard.  Bob Bevis realized the need for ample water and the timeliness of each irrigation event for his orchard because of this demo.  He now has plans to build a reservoir to use as a source of water, especially in drought years.  He realized he cannot depend on well water alone to supply the needs of his expanding orchard.                            

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted only for display at AM/PIC. Poster is not to be judged, but the abstract will be published in the proceedings.

A poster file has not been provided

Authors: Kyle Sanders
  1. Sanders, K. CEA - Agriculture, , Arkansas, 72086