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      A Novel Low-Cost Open-Hardware Platform for Monitoring Soil Water Content and Multiple Soil-Air-Vegetation Parameters

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          Abstract

          Monitoring soil water content at high spatio-temporal resolution and coupled to other sensor data is crucial for applications oriented towards water sustainability in agriculture, such as precision irrigation or phenotyping root traits for drought tolerance. The cost of instrumentation, however, limits measurement frequency and number of sensors. The objective of this work was to design a low cost “open hardware” platform for multi-sensor measurements including water content at different depths, air and soil temperatures. The system is based on an open-source ARDUINO microcontroller-board, programmed in a simple integrated development environment (IDE). Low cost high-frequency dielectric probes were used in the platform and lab tested on three non-saline soils (ECe1: 2.5 < 0.1 mS/cm). Empirical calibration curves were subjected to cross-validation (leave-one-out method), and normalized root mean square error (NRMSE) were respectively 0.09 for the overall model, 0.09 for the sandy soil, 0.07 for the clay loam and 0.08 for the sandy loam. The overall model (pooled soil data) fitted the data very well (R 2 = 0.89) showing a high stability, being able to generate very similar RMSEs during training and validation (RMSE training = 2.63; RMSE validation = 2.61). Data recorded on the card were automatically sent to a remote server allowing repeated field-data quality checks. This work provides a framework for the replication and upgrading of a customized low cost platform, consistent with the open source approach whereby sharing information on equipment design and software facilitates the adoption and continuous improvement of existing technologies.

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          Most cited references 93

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          A Review of Wireless Sensor Technologies and Applications in Agriculture and Food Industry: State of the Art and Current Trends

          The aim of the present paper is to review the technical and scientific state of the art of wireless sensor technologies and standards for wireless communications in the Agri-Food sector. These technologies are very promising in several fields such as environmental monitoring, precision agriculture, cold chain control or traceability. The paper focuses on WSN (Wireless Sensor Networks) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), presenting the different systems available, recent developments and examples of applications, including ZigBee based WSN and passive, semi-passive and active RFID. Future trends of wireless communications in agriculture and food industry are also discussed.
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            Wireless sensors in agriculture and food industry—Recent development and future perspective

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              Phenotyping for drought tolerance in grain crops: when is it useful to breeders?

               J Passioura (2012)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sensors (Basel)
                Sensors (Basel)
                Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)
                MDPI
                1424-8220
                October 2014
                21 October 2014
                : 14
                : 10
                : 19639-19659
                Affiliations
                [1 ] School of Agriculture, Forestry, Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Basilicata, Potenza 85100, Italy; E-Mails: gianfranco.bitella@ 123456gmail.com (G.B.); bochicchiorocco@ 123456gmail.com (R.B.); michele.perniola@ 123456unibas.it (M.P.); mariana.amato@ 123456unibas.it (M.A.)
                [2 ] Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura—Research Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry Environments (CRA-SCA), Bari 70125, Italy
                Author notes
                [†]

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                External Editor: Gonzalo Pajares Martinsanz

                [* ] Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: roberta.rossi@ 123456entecra.it ; Tel.: +39-080-547-5011; Fax: +39-080-547-5023.
                Article
                sensors-14-19639
                10.3390/s141019639
                4239887
                25337742
                © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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