A Soil Sampling System for On-the-Go Analysis and Mapping of pH and Other Properties
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: As crop growers begin to use GPS technology to manage the variability in their fields, they are seeking ways to assess the variability of physical and chemical properties more accurately and cost-effectively. In the most common approach, soil samples are acquired on a 2.5 acre grid pattern. Soil properties often have greater spatial variability than is identified with this approach, however the costs of sampling and lab analysis preclude denser sampling. A promising approach to this problem is to use ion-selective electrodes that measure soil properties on-the-go much more intensively than 2.5 acres/sample. A soil-sampling mechanism was prototyped by Purdue University for sensing soil pH. This device was re-designed and extensively field-tested with pH electrodes during a Phase I project. On-the-go pH sensing has proven feasible and is viable for commercial development. Validation of pH sensor data during earlier research confirmed the economic advantages of dense, on-the-go mapping versus current sampling methods. In the new project, several user-oriented features will be integrated for commercial use, and advancements will be made in using other ion-selective electrodes, and in prescribing applications from sensor data.
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