A better understanding of soil properties like electrical conductivity, organic matter and pH levels can go a long way in precision agriculture applications.
As Veris Technologies president Eric Lund explains in the following video, mapping these properties is useful in variable rate fertilizer application, as well as for site-specific management when seeding, applying lime or irrigating.
“There are a number of things you can vary based on these soil properties,” he notes, as he describes the Veris MSP3 cart.
The initial soil characteristic readings from the Veris machine are relative, so they must be calibrated using soil samples taken at the same time, says Lund.
“We’re taking multiple soil samples in the field, and then calibrating the sensor readings to those numbers. That turns the raw sensor value into a number that means something across a farmer’s farm or a consultant’s trade territory,” he explains.
Topography is another factor that can impact nutrient availability to a crop. By analyzing a field’s contour information together with organic matter and soil texture maps, a producer or agronomist can determine which areas of a field are most susceptible to nitrogen leaching and denitrification, says Lund.
“Rather than going out there with a soil probe all over the field trying to figure out if you have enough nitrogen, you can go right to the spots where you may have lost nitrogen. Once you know you’ve not lost in those highly susceptible spots, then you can be confident you have enough in the rest as well,” he explains.
Lund says fields likely only need to be surveyed once for organic matter and texture, however producers managing for pH may want to survey more often.