Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2001
Publication Date: 1/1/2002
Citation: Franzen, D.W., Hopkins, D.H., Sweeney, M.D., Ulmer, M.K., Halvorson, A.D. 2002. Evaluation of soil survey scale for zone manatgement of site-specific nitrogen. Agronomy Journal. 94:381-389.
Interpretive Summary: In order to manage nutrients in farm fields using site-specific technology, nutrient information must be gathered to direct the variable-rate application of fertilizers. Soil nutrient zones have been shown to be related to landscape topography. This research examined the relationship of first and second order soil surveys with identified nutrient zones related to topography. Results indicate that currently available soil surveys (Order 2) should not be used to develop nutrient management zones for site-specific nutrient management unless the soil patterns are verified with other site-specific management zone development tools. A potential benefit of finer-scale soil surveys (Order 1) would be to reinforce or redefine apparent nutrient zones.
Technical Abstract: Sampling in nutrient management zones has been shown to be effective in North Dakota and other areas of the Great Plains. There is interest in using present soil survey reports as a basis for management zone patterns, especially where the soil mapping units have been digitized. However, at the present mapping scale, these mapping unit patterns are often not similar to nutrient management zones. Fields mapped at a finer scale (Order 1 survey) showed some similarity between mapping units and nutrient management zones defined by topography, aerial photography/satellite imagery and soil electrical conductivity (EC) sensors. Currently available soil surveys should not be used to develop nutrient management zones for site-specific agriculture unless the soil patterns are verified with other site-specific management zone development tools. Alternatively, a major benefit of finer-scale soil surveys would be to reinforce or redefine apparent nutrient zones.