b'The probes were first distributed in 2019 with more given out in 2020. Throughout the first two years, Simplot has covered all costs associated with the use of the probes. For the 2021 growing season though, Simplot plans to start charging growers for the probes as demand has increased. On Randy Barons farm near Carberry, Man. they have always been interested in soil moisture probes, first having rented them 25 years ago from Manitoba Agriculture. At the time they were costly which ultimately led to not using them long term. It gave us a confirmation of what we thought the 65 per cent soil moisture level was from a hand feel method. You start to see a leveling out on the graphs when you get below 65 per cent moisture, Baron says in a phone interview.In recent years they have started to use soil moisture probes again through Crop Care Consulting in Portage la Prairie, Man. as the cost has come down. Last year they were growing a trial variety for Simplot. Because Simplot wanted to closely monitor the trial crop, they were offered Simplots soil moisture probes.I found them more detailed than the ones we had, because they give you a projection with evapotranspiration and weather modelswhere to expect your moisture level to be every day in advance, Baron explains. You get a better handle on exactly what to anticipate.Baron was also able to have Simplot soil moisture probes in some of his other potato variety fields. Baron says they were able to fine tune their irrigation schedules based on the information from the probes. He plans to use them againA field with a centre pivot irrigation system on it which has had soil moisture this growing season depending on cost.probes used in it.PHOTO: SCOTT GRAHAMSPUDSMART.COM Summer 202117'