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Soil-moisture monitoring technology wins WA Innovator award

With irrigation topping the water agenda of late, it’s no wonder Outpost Central won the WA Innovator award for its soil-moisture monitoring development.

Outpost Central’s Kieran Coupe, who pitched the monitoring product – wildeye – at the annual WA Water Conference last year, said that water for irrigation is a global issue that needs innovating.

“It is widely accepted that the world is running out of water, and water to grow food is one of the biggest issues around the world,” Coupe said.

“Not only are we running out of water, we’ve got a rapidly expanding population so there are more mouths to feed with less available water.”

Coupe said the innovative difference with wildeye is in offering a more accurate soil-moisture reading, enabling irrigators to adjust water scheduling to achieve far higher efficiency.

“This tool allows irrigation to see really accurately where the water they are applying is sitting in the soil profile. Fundamentally, it ensures that the irrigation water applied is enough to sustain plant growth, but not so much that water gets drained past the root zone where the plant can no longer access it.

“It allows for more precise irrigation, and therefore less irrigation water waste. We are letting them see what is going on beneath the soil and actually fine tuning the irrigation scheduling.”

And while there are many soil-monitoring products already available, Coupe said that the new product’s delivery model is unlike any other on the market.

“We’ve combined it with some soil moisture sensors, and re-written the software, to a large extent, to simplify and tailor it to this specific application,” Coupe said.

“We have simplified it quite heavily. It’s got significantly longer battery life than our competitors, and is very compact and ultra-low power.”

Outpost Central will be exhibiting at the upcoming Australian Water Association Innovation Forum and Expo, showcasing a range of metering products for more efficient water use.

The event will be held in Sydney on March 10–11. The full program can be viewed here.

“We’re very much looking forward to the expo,” Coupe said.

“We will be exhibiting a lot of Outpost products and we’ll have a couple of representatives from Outpost there to answer any questions and tell people all about what we do.”