The composition of water in the soil is very different from the composition of irrigation water. This is because the soil water contains dissolved nutrients derived from the soil, organic matter and fertilizers.
Soil water also contains salts that were dissolved in the irrigation water. These salts can build up in the soil over time and can reduce plant growth.
For the irrigator, there are 'good' salts and 'bad' salts. The good salts are the nutrients like nitrate, potassium and calcium because plants need to take up large quantities for growth. Bad salts include sodium and chloride; they are not required for plant growth and in some circumstances can build up to high levels in the soil and harm plant growth.
The FullStop allows you to keep track of the good and bad salts, so you can improve fertilizer management and know if and when salt leaching is required.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of monitoring the soil solution and evaluating this against the irrigation strategy. Irrigation, salt and nutrient management are completely interlinked.
Sometimes the monitoring of electrical conductivity or nitrate levels can tell you more about irrigation management than measuring water content itself. For example nitrate levels will drop sharply if over-irrigation occurs. Depending on the quality of the irrigation water, EC levels will gradually rise during periods of under irrigation.