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Soil Strength Sensing for Quantifying Within-Field Variability

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  021182,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.9696) @2002
Authors:   Kenneth A. Sudduth, Newell R. Kitchen, Scott T. Drummond, Germán A. Bollero, Donald G. Bullock, Sun-Ok Chung
Keywords:   cone penetrometer, compaction, spatial variability, soil strength

Within-field variations in soil strength can significantly affect crop growth and yield by changing the hydrologic characteristics of the soil and its suitability as a medium for root growth. The purpose of this study was to relate soil strength, as measured with a cone penetrometer, to soil and landscape characteristics on fields in Illinois and Missouri. Penetrometer cone index (CI) measurements were obtained at sampling points where detailed soil profile analyses, along with soil electrical conductivity (EC) and topography measurements, were also available. CI and profile soil properties were generally more variable within the Missouri field than in the Illinois field. Near the soil surface, within-field CI variations were correlated only to depth. At deeper depths, CI variability was related to soil texture and soil water content as well as depth. For the Illinois field, CI variability was also related to inorganic carbon, due to the presence of calcium carbonates at depth. In this study, CI was not correlated to bulk density. CI was not correlated to topography but was correlated to soil EC measurements, with the strongest relationships being found on the Missouri field. For the Missouri field, maximum CI and the depth to the maximum CI were both linearly related (r2 = 0.22 to 0.67) to soil EC.

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