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Methods of measuring soil moisture in the field

January 1, 1962

For centuries, the amount of moisture in the soil has been of interest in agriculture. The subject of soil moisture is also of great importance to the hydrologist, forester, and soils engineer.

Much equipment and many methods have been developed to measure soil moisture under field conditions. This report discusses and evaluates the various methods for measurement of soil moisture and describes the equipment needed for each method. The advantages and disadvantages of each method are discussed and an extensive list of references is provided for those desiring to study the subject in more detail.

The gravimetric method is concluded to be the most satisfactory method for most problems requiring onetime moisture-content data. The radioactive method is normally best for obtaining repeated measurements of soil moisture in place. It is concluded that all methods have some limitations and that the ideal method for measurement of soil moisture under field conditions has yet to be perfected.

Publication Year 1962
Title Methods of measuring soil moisture in the field
DOI 10.3133/wsp1619U
Authors A.I. Johnson
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water Supply Paper
Series Number 1619
Index ID wsp1619U
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse