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Enabling better global research outcomes in soil, plant & environmental monitoring.

MPKit-406B Soil Moisture Instant Reading Kit

A handheld, portable, soil moisture measurement system, the MPKit provides high quality and accurate data. The MPKit is a user-friendly tool, connecting the MP406 sensor to an Android phone (included) using Bluetooth. Ideal for taking multiple soil moisture measurements, the MPKit is widely used. Commercial applications include irrigation monitoring of sports fields, agriculture, moisture control of concrete batch mixes or materials testing. Research applications are wide and varied, from frog ecology to soil carbon testing.

The MPKit records the volumetric soil moisture content, and optionally the location (using the phone’s GPS), for later analysis. The data is stored in a CSV file for easy analysis, with latitude, longitude, time & date recorded alongside volumetric soil moisture measurement.

About the MPKit:

The MPKit contains everything that is needed to undertake the point measurement of soil moisture in a convenient carry case; the sensor, Bluetooth unit, 2-piece handle and Android phone & app.

MP406 Sensor

Using the robust, reliable, and proven MP406 sensor, the MPKit enables use of a high-quality sensor that previously was only available for long term installations with a data logging system. As a handheld, portable soil moisture measurement system, the MPKit brings Standing Wave Technology for volumetric soil moisture measurement to new applications.

The use of Standing Wave Technology ensures that the soil moisture measurements are not impacted by soil temperature or salinity – both of which can affect other sensor types. When calibrated to the specific soil type, accuracy can be ±1%.

The robust construction of the sensor with the 4 stainless steel needles allows for repeated insertion into the soil. Used as a buried instrument, the MP406 is providing over 20 years of service, demonstrating robustness and reliability.

Android phone and app

Included with the MPKit is an Android phone with the ICT International MPKit app preinstalled. The app does not require an active SIM card to operate, only requiring Bluetooth and Location Services (GPS) to be enabled.

Within the app, it is a simple process to take a measurement; name the sample site and then take the measurement. This data will then be recorded in a CSV file which can be imported onto your computer for further analysis. Data can be visualised on a variety of software packages; the data can be imported into ArcGIS, QGIS or Google Earth as it has the required spatial data.

Bluetooth unit and handle

Designed for the MP406 sensor, the Bluetooth unit attaches to the included handle and the MP406. The handle is made up of a straight section and a T handle section, allowing for easy insertion of the MP406 needles and unit into the soil.

The Bluetooth unit will pair with an Android phone with the ICT International MPKit app installed. Supplied with 3x internal AAA batteries (user replaceable), the Bluetooth unit does not require charging.

The MPKit is a robust, simple, portable handheld solution for the measurement and monitoring of volumetric soil moisture. Using robust scientific measurement principles, the MPKit allows users to take point measurements with confidence that they are getting reliable data.

Research papers using the MPKit are available here, whilst the research papers using the MP406 Soil Moisture Probe can be found here.

The MPKit consists of the following:

  • MP406B or MP306B Moisture Probe. Rapidly measure soil moisture by pushing the needles of the sensor into the soil surface or the soil profile in an augered hole. The needles are welded to the body and will not break.
  • Bluetooth Interface
  • Android Phone with ICT MPKit app pre-loaded
  • MPExt Rod consists of a pair of chrome extension rods. Each rod is 35 cm long enabling measurement of soil moisture to 70 cm depth in the soil profile. One rod connects to the MP406B and the other has a “T” handle. Additional 35 cm extension rods are available upon request.
  • MP Case is made of high quality aluminium with strong foam cutout. The case carries the MP406B, MPM160 and MPExt Rod.
  • MP Auger Set (optional) consists of a spiral drill bit and T handle. The auger set drills a 50 mm diameter hole enabling the MP406B to be easily pushed to the depth required for measurement.

MP406B Soil Moisture Probe

OPTIONAL: The MPKit can also support the MP306B sensor for pots in glasshouses or growth cabinets
The MP406B can be used to measure the soil moisture for scientific research or irrigation management. In either situation the MP406B can:

  • Rapidly measure soil moisture by pushing the needles of the sensor into the soil surface or soil profile. (MPKit)
  • Make measurements over time by permanently burying the MP406B and connecting it to a data logger. (MP406B)
  • Control irrigation by permanently burying the MP406B and connecting it into an irrigation controller with industry standard 4-20 mA interface. (MP406C)

The MP406B Moisture Probe can also be used to measure the moisture content in many materials such as soil, food and materials used in roadway and building construction.
The MPKit is a very suitable substitute for the Neutron Probe for irrigation scheduling

Irrigation Scheduling

A series of holes are augered to the top (20 cm), middle (40 cm) and bottom (60 cm) of the root zone. The augered holes have a 50 mm PVC tube inserted. This enables routine measurement of soil moisture at the same location and depth for irrigation scheduling.
The MPKit, when used in this manner has the same application as the Neutron Probe.

Theory of Operation

The MP406B has a high frequency moisture detector, which uses the standing wave principle to indicate the ratio of two or more substances forming a body of material, each substance having a different dielectric constant (Ka).
The moisture measurement of the material is based upon the fact that in a water:soil:air matrix, the dielectric constant is dominated by the amount of water present. Then the soil water content can be measured exactly because changes in water content of the soil result in changes in the dielectric constant of the soil.

MP306B or MP406B Probe
Measurement Range: 0–100 VSW% (Volumetric Soil Water %)
Accuracy: +/- 1%
Response Time: Less than 0.5 seconds
Stabilization Time: 3 seconds approximately from power-up
Environment: Environmentally sealed, can be permanently buried in the soil.
Total length: 215 mm
Needle length: 60 mm
Needle diameter: 4 mm
Needle separation: 14 mm
Needles: Stainless Steel
Exterior: ABS Plastic
Cable: 4.5 m Standard
MPM160 Meter
Analogue input signal range: 0–1200 mV
Resolution: 0.1 VSW%
Display: 1 line 16 character LCD which displays battery status, reading number, raw mV and calibrated VSW%
Keys: Light touch, field rugged keyboard; Double sided READ key for easy right or left single-handed field use
Memory: 510 Readings
E2PROM data storage so data will not be lost if battery is replaced
Power Management: Power Supply – internal common 9V Battery
Reading State <= 28 mA (3 secs)
Waiting State <= 5 mA (40 secs)
Sleeping State <= 1.8 µA
Download Cable: Industry standard RS232 communication 9 pin female connector with supplied download cable
Serial to USB Cable
Software: ICT MPM Software, includes graphical interface, graphing capabilities
Optional Auger Set
Shell Auger: 50 mm x 1 m
Spiral Auger: 50 mm x 1 m
Extension: 40 mm x 0.6 m

The MPKit-406B Soil Moisture Instant Reading Kit is widely used in research; below is a list of over 30 publications that have used the Portable Moisture Probe in their research.


Halli, H. M., Angadi, S., Kumar, A., Govindasamy, P., Madar, R., El-Ansary, D. O., Rashwan, M. A., Abdelmohsen, S. A. M., Abdelbacki, A. M. M., Mahmoud, E. A., & Elansary, H. O. (2021). Influence of Planting and Irrigation Levels as Physical Methods on Maize Root Morphological Traits, Grain Yield and Water Productivity in Semi-Arid Region. Agronomy, 11(2), 294. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11020294
Halli, H. M., Angadi, S., Kumar, A., Govindasamy, P., Madar, R., Baskar V, D. C., Elansary, H. O., Tamam, N., Abdelbacki, A. M. M., & Abdelmohsen, S. A. M. (2021). Assessment of Planting Method and Deficit Irrigation Impacts on Physio-Morphology, Grain Yield and Water Use Efficiency of Maize (Zea mays L.) on Vertisols of Semi-Arid Tropics. Plants, 10(6), 1094. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10061094
Kannan P., Paramasivan M., Marimuthu S., Swaminathan C., & Bose, J. (2021). Applying both biochar and phosphobacteria enhances Vigna mungo L. growth and yield in acid soils by increasing soil pH, moisture content, microbial growth and P availability. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 308, 107258. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2020.107258
Malambane, G., Batlang, U., Ramolekwa, K., Tsujimoto, H., & Akashi, K. (2021). Growth chamber and field evaluation of physiological factors of two watermelon genotypes. Plant Stress, 2, 100017. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stress.2021.100017
Xu, X., Duan, C., Wu, H., Luo, X., & Han, L. (2021). Effects of changes in throughfall on soil GHG fluxes under a mature temperate forest, northeastern China. Journal of Environmental Management, 294, 112950. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112950


Gu, J., Guo, H., & Xiang, H. (2020). The utility of a boundary line approach for simulating denitrification and nitrous oxide emissions from a Regosol under summer maize-winter wheat crop rotation in Southwest China. Geoderma Regional, 20, e00252. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geodrs.2020.e00252
O’Brien, D. M., Silla, A. J., & Byrne, P. G. (2020). Nest site selection in a terrestrial breeding frog: interrelationships between nest moisture, pH and male advertisement. Animal Behaviour, 169, 57–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2020.08.023
Sun, M., Peng, F., Xiao, Y., Yu, W., Zhang, Y., & Gao, H. (2020). Exogenous phosphatidylcholine treatment alleviates drought stress and maintains the integrity of root cell membranes in peach. Scientia Horticulturae, 259, 108821. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2019.108821


Holley, J. M., & Andrew, N. R. (2019). Experimental warming alters the relative survival and emigration of two dung beetle species from an Australian dung pat community. Austral Ecology, 44(5), 800–811. https://doi.org/10.1111/aec.12750
Li, X., Blackman, C. J., Peters, J. M. R., Choat, B., Rymer, P. D., Medlyn, B. E., & Tissue, D. T. (2019). More than iso/anisohydry: Hydroscapes integrate plant water use and drought tolerance traits in 10 eucalypt species from contrasting climates. Functional Ecology, 33(6), 1035–1049. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13320


Gorissen, S., Greenlees, M., Shine, R., Gorissen, S., Greenlees, M., & Shine, R. (2018). The impact of wildfire on an endangered reptile (Eulamprus leuraensis) in Australian montane swamps. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 27(7), 447–456. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF17048


Gorissen, S., Baird, I. R. C., Greenlees, M., Sherieff, A. N., Shine, R., Gorissen, S., Baird, I. R. C., Greenlees, M., Sherieff, A. N., & Shine, R. (2017). Predicting the occurrence of an endangered reptile based on habitat attributes. Pacific Conservation Biology, 24(1), 12–24. https://doi.org/10.1071/PC17027
Huang, W., Liu, J., Han, T., Zhang, D., Huang, S., & Zhou, G. (2017). Different plant covers change soil respiration and its sources in subtropics. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 53(4), 469–478. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-017-1186-0


Chen, X., Zhang, D., Liang, G., Qiu, Q., Liu, J., Zhou, G., Liu, S., Chu, G., & Yan, J. (2016). Effects of precipitation on soil organic carbon fractions in three subtropical forests in southern China. Journal of Plant Ecology, 9(1), 10–19. https://doi.org/10.1093/jpe/rtv027
Coleborn, K., Spate, A., Tozer, M., Andersen, M. S., Fairchild, I. J., MacKenzie, B., Treble, P. C., Meehan, S., Baker, A., & Baker, A. (2016). Effects of wildfire on long-term soil CO 2 concentration: implications for karst processes. Environmental Earth Sciences, 75(4), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-015-4874-9
Dou, X., Zhou, W., Zhang, Q., & Cheng, X. (2016). Greenhouse gas (CO2, CH4, N2O) emissions from soils following afforestation in central China. Atmospheric Environment, 126, 98–106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2015.11.054
Scheer, C., Rowlings, D. W., Grace, P. R., Scheer, C., Rowlings, D. W., & Grace, P. R. (2016). Non-linear response of soil N2O emissions to nitrogen fertiliser in a cotton–fallow rotation in sub-tropical Australia. Soil Research, 54(5), 494–499. https://doi.org/10.1071/SR14328


Lucke, T., & Nichols, P. W. B. (2015). The pollution removal and stormwater reduction performance of street-side bioretention basins after ten years in operation. Science of The Total Environment, 536, 784–792. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.07.142


Abubaker, S. (2014). Effect of different types of mulches on Newton tomato yields and fruit cracking under plastic greenhouse conditions. Effect of Different Types of Mulches on Newton Tomato Yields and Fruit Cracking under Plastic Greenhouse Conditions, 25–28. https://doi.org/10.1400/230003

2013 and earlier


Request more information

If you would like further information on applications for the MPKit-406B Portable Moisture Probe, please contact ICT International, sales@ictinternational.com.au