Arizona Crop Information Site logo
University of Arizona
Vegetable IPM Updates Archive
Cooperative Extension
What is a Lysimeter? (May 18, 2011)

While sampling for whitefly at the U of A Yuma Ag Center I saw this huge block of soil suspended in a tank. When I asked what it was I was told "a lysimeter". Obviously my next question was: What is a lysimeter?

A lysimeter is a device which can be used to measure the amount of evapotranspiration (the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration). By recording the amount of precipitation that an area receives and the amount lost through the soil and it's vegetation, we can calculate the water lost by evapotranspiration. There are two types of lysimeters: Weighing and non-weighing.

Researchers at the Yuma Agricultural Center are conducting projects with weighing lysimeters. A weighing lysimeter which in this case is a big square tank with weight cells on each corner shows the amount of water that crops use and loss of water as vapor through stomata. This is done by constantly weighing the block of soil in a field to detect losses of soil moisture. The crop in this case cauliflower is grown in the soil tank which allows to estimate the crop needs. The rainfall input and water lost through the soil is also calculated. The data obtained is constantly collected and automatically sent to the computers at the Ag. Center. Also the relation between the weather and water usage by different crops is established using the AZMET weather stations. Finally the water that infiltrates below the root system is collected, then pumped out of the tank and analyzed for various elements.

If you would like more information on this subject you can contact Dr. Charles Sanchez and Manuel Peralta at the U of A Yuma Ag. Center.


To contact Marco Peņa go to:



For questions or comments on any of the topics please contact Marco Pena at the Yuma Agricultural Center.
College of Agriculture, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

Home | Cotton | Veggies | Forages | Grains | Citrus | Crop x Crop
Insects | Diseases| Weeds | Pesticides | Economics | News | Weather | Research | Photos | Contacts | General Info.

Copyright © 2001 University of Arizona,
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Webmaster: Al Fournier (