First feedback from the use of pF Tracer One

Following research projects withINRAE, the WETRUF company has set up innovative tools, such as the pF Tracer OneTM and its dedicated plaster probe, to improve the management of water supply in truffle fields. These technologies allow a reading of the soil’s water potential, more commonly known as ” pF “.

Three years after the launch of these products on the market, WETRUF interviewed its truffle grower users in order to measure the impact that these tools have had in the management of the watering of their truffle fields. The vast majority of respondents (about 89%) had their watering trigger changed. In 68% of the cases, the watering was earlier than with empirical use.

Figure 1: Has using the pF Tracer changed your watering management?
Figure 2: Evolution of the time of watering activation

The use of this equipment has shown many benefits on water management. First of all, it allows to know when it is necessary to bring water. The threshold recommended by WETRUF is pF 4 for Tuber Melanosporum. This is the point of temporary wilting. The truffle growers used values close to this value as shown in Figure 3.
Thanks to this threshold, the truffle growers were able to better understand the drying of their soil and adjust the time of watering, which also allowed them to avoid unnecessary watering.

Figure 3: PF thresholds used by users for Tuber melanosporum

Another threshold can also be used to know when the water supply is sufficient. This is in the range of 2.5 pF. Indeed, a lower value indicates that the excess water will go into the water table and will not be available for the truffle anyway. The implementation of this threshold will have the advantage of knowing exactly when to stop watering, and thus, preserve and save water resources.

This feedback also concerns the impact on truffle production, the CULTURTRUF project – conducted at INRAE before the commercialization of this tool – having notably indicated an increase in truffle production of 4 to 6 times.

It is still too early to know the exact impact on production after just 2 years of use, which is what the users in response to this survey have so far specified in large majority.

Figure 4: Have you ever observed an impact on your truffle production?

We now need to continue our feedback surveys in order to study the data collected and continuously update the observations made in situ. Your participation as a buyer is essential to allow us to continue to improve, to feed our knowledge on the truffle and to advance research. So thank you for your collaboration!

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