On-line version ISSN 0378-4738
A rapid calibration procedure for EC-10 and EC-20 sensors is introduced to promote the commercial use of these sensors for hydroponic irrigation management in coir. The method is comprised of taking one sensor reading, by a sensor installed under hydroponic crop production conditions, and one gravimetric sample, both at field water capacity, to determine a correction factor for an accurate general laboratory calibration equation developed for coir. The rapid calibration procedure was evaluated by 4 separate sensors of EC-10 and EC-20. To verify the relative reliability of the rapid procedure, statistical analysis was performed separately for all data points and for data points between the drained upper limit and permanent wilting point of coir. From the statistical parameters used, it was observed that all of the predictions in the plant available water content range were good, with RMSE values < 0.030 m3-m-3 for the EC-10 and < 0.021 m3-m-3 for the EC-20 sensors. The D-index also pointed to a high accuracy of prediction in the plant available water content range, with values over 0.981 and 0.990 for the EC-10 and EC-20 sensors, respectively. Since a degree of variation remained between sensors, it was concluded that sensors should be calibrated individually. The rapid procedure proves a simple but scientifically sound method to calibrate sensors and is easy to apply to individual sensors in the field.
Keywords : growing medium; rapid calibration; soil water sensors; water content.