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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Relating Apparent Electrical Conductivity to Soil Properties Across the North-Central Usa

item Sudduth, Kenneth
item Kitchen, Newell
item Wiebold, W - UNIV OF MO
item Batchelor, W - IA STATE UNIV
item Bollero, G - U OF IL
item Bullock, D - U OF IL
item Clay, D - SD STATE UNIV
item Palm, H - UNIV OF MO
item Pierce, F - WA STATE UNIV
item Schuler, R - U OF WI

Submitted to: Computers and Electronics in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 22, 2003
Publication Date: March 15, 2005
Repository URL:
Citation: Sudduth, K.A., Kitchen, N.R., Wiebold, W.J., Batchelor, W.D., Bollero, G.A., Bullock, D.G., Clay, D.E., Palm, H.L., Pierce, F.J., Schuler, R.T. 2005. Relating apparent electrical conductivity to soil properties across the north-central USA. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 46:263-283.

Interpretive Summary: Soil apparent electrical conductivity (EC) is influenced by a number of factors, including soil moisture, clay content, and salinity. Because of this, spatial measurements of conductivity can, when properly calibrated, provide indicators of a number of soil parameters important in site-specific crop management, or precision agriculture. In this project, two EC sensors used commercially in precision agriculture were evaluated. The Geonics EM38 is a non-contact sensor which measures EC to a depth of approximately 1.5 m through the principle of electromagnetic induction. The Veris 3100 uses coulters in contact with the soil to provide two simultaneous EC measurements to depths of approximately 0.3 m and 1.0 m. We obtained EC measurements in crop production fields in six north-central states using both these instruments and found that they gave similar, but not identical results. Differences between the sensors were greater on fields with more layered soils, such as the Missouri claypan soil fields. The two soil properties most strongly related to EC were clay content and cation exchange capacity (CEC). We found that it may be possible to develop calibrations for clay and CEC that would apply across a wide range of soils and climatic conditions. The results of this research will benefit users of EC instruments, giving them a better understanding of the advantages and limitations of each instrument type. The results will also benefit scientists and extension personnel, who may need to understand the differences between the instruments for research or demonstration purposes.

Technical Abstract:

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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