Monitoring soil moisture in
grazing systems

In 2013, BIGG initiated a project to monitor soil moisture in local grazing systems (funded by a Caring for Our Country Community Landcare Grant). This involved the establishment of telemetry based weather monitoring stations located in three representative pasture paddocks (Flaxman Valley, Keyneton, Koonunga), which was the first time a farming systems group in S.A. has demonstrated soil moisture monitoring in pastures.

In 2019, a fourth station located in a native pasture paddock at Moculta was installed via funding from Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges NRM Board’s ‘Supporting Sustainable Primary Production’ grant. Additional support for the project was also received from the AMLR in 2020.

Each station comprises a sub-surface capacitance probe measuring moisture to a depth of 85cm, an automatic rain gauge and sensors measuring air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, NDVI and solar radiation. These are connected to a solar powered telemetry unit that transmits data every 15 minutes via a mobile phone network to an internet server. Data downloaded from the server is then used to produce real-time graphs for each site.

Soil Moisture Monitoring

The ‘live data’ from BIGG’s Flaxman Valley, Keyneton, Koonunga and Moculta weather stations can be viewed at:

A network of soil moisture probes are also located throughout the SA Murray-Darling Basin region. Further further information about their soil moisture status can be accessed here.

Monthly soil moisture monitoring reports – 2017-22

Monthly analysis on the status of the four local paddocks (located at Flaxman Valley, Keyneton, Koonunga and Moculta) being monitored for their soil moisture use.

Case Studies

  • BIGG Water Catchment Case Study: Dale Button

    August 2021

  • BIGG Farmer Case Study: Graham Kaynes

    July 2019

  • BIGG Farmer Case Study: Michael Evans

    July 2019

  • BIGG Farmer Case Study: Peter Kleinig

    July 2019

  • Project Case Study: Measuring soil moisture leads to better pasture

    Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, July 2018

Videos and Webinars

Surveys and Presentations

  • Regional Water Security: BIGG Survey Report

    May 2021

  • Survey Report: BIGG's soil moisture and climate monitoring activities

    June 2020

  • BIGG's Soil moisture monitoing project - whats been happening lately?

    BIGG annual conference presentation, Brett Nietschke - Feb 2020

  • Project Survey Report: the use and application of data being recorded from BIGG's weather monitoring stations

    July 2019

  • Australian Society of Animal Production Conference: Soil moisture monitoring in grazing systems assists decision making

    July 2016
    >> Paper    >> Poster

Soil moisture presentations at BIGG's Annual Conference - February 2018

  • Soil moisture monitoring for pastures

    Peter Toome, TOIP Pty Ltd

  • BIGG's Soil moisture monitoring in grazing systems project: Lessons learnt

    Brett Nietschke, BIGG

  • The use of moisture probes and PA pastures at Branson Farms

    Mark Branson, Farmer (Stockport)

Presentations at BIGG’s soil moisture monitoring workshop – April 2014

  • Soil moisture monitoring and water use efficiency

    Peter Toome, TOIP Pty Ltd

  • Soil moisture probes in dryland cropping systems

    Tony Craddock, Rural Directions

  • Does water = profit

    Callum March, Farmer (Balaklava)

  • Soil moisture monitoring in vineyards

    Adam Pietsch, Farmer Johns

Disclaimer: The data generated from the BIGG soil moisture monitoring sites is provided for information only. Any actions or decisions made by users is at their sole discretion.