|Sudduth, Kenneth - Ken|
Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural Engineers Meetings Papers
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/30/2003
Publication Date: 9/30/2003
Citation: CHUNG, S., SUDDUTH, K.A., HUMMEL, J.W. 2003. ON-THE-GO SOIL STRENGTH PROFILE SENSOR USING A LOAD CELL ARRAY. AMERICAN SOCIETY OF AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERS. PAPER NO. 031071.
Interpretive Summary: Precision agriculture aims both to minimize costs and environmental damage caused by agricultural activities and to maximize crop yield and benefits, all based on information collected at within-field locations. Soil strength, or compaction, is a factor that can vary considerably within fields and can also greatly affect crop yields. Because of this, farmers need a quick and inexpensive way to measure compaction. To meet this need, we built an on-the-go sensor that can take measurements continuously while traveling across a field. The body of the sensor is a narrow vertical blade attached to a tractor hitch. Compaction is measured at several depths by cutting tips that extend forward from the front edge of the blade. We tested the sensor in the field and determined the best way to configure the cutting tips. We also compared the data from our sensor to data from a cone penetrometer, the standard device currently used to measure compaction. Measurements from the two devices were similar, so the many scientific findings from cone penetrometer research can also be applied to our sensor. Our results will help companies wanting to develop a commercial compaction sensor that farmers and consultants can use. Compaction maps from such a sensor would help farmers interpret variations in yield maps and would also provide the information needed to control precision tillage operations.
Technical Abstract: Soil strength has traditionally been determined using a cone penetrometer. The cone penetrometer readings are discrete point measurements, and it is difficult to maintain statistical significance due to the variability in the data. A reasonable way to resolve the problem is to obtain a large number of measurements, a process that is time-consuming and laborious. A soil strength profile sensor that can take measurements continuously while traveling across the field would be preferable. Such an on-the-go soil strength profile sensor (OTG-SSPS) was developed using a load cell array. Multiple prismatic tips mounted in a main blade were extended from the leading blade edge and spaced apart to minimize interference from the main blade and adjacent sensing tips. The effects of extension and spacing of the tips were investigated and optimized through field tests. Based on these results, tip extension and spacing for future operation were chosen to be 5.1 cm and 10.2 cm, respectively. Soil strength measured by the sensor was found to be linearly related to strength measured with a standard cone penetrometer. The OTG-SSPS will be evaluated in different operating and soil conditions and used to map soil strength of fields.