Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Agroecosystem Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #158115


item Arnold, Spencer
item Doran, John
item Schepers, James
item Ginting, Daniel
item Amos, B

Submitted to: Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2004
Publication Date: 5/15/2005
Citation: Arnold, S.L., Doran, J.W., Schepers, J.S., Ginting, D., Amos, B. 2005. Portable probes to measure electrical conductivity in the field and laboratory. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 36:2271-2287.

Interpretive Summary: Measuring the electrical conductivity of solutions found in soil has proven to be useful to improve food production while maintaining the quality of soil in farming operations. Inexpensive tools for easy measurement of electrical conductivity in soil solutions generally do not exist. Three probes were developed, that can be attached to a pocket size conductivity meter, to survey and monitor soil water electrical conductivity in the field or laboratory. The probes proved to be economical, compact, and easy to use, while providing satisfactory results.

Technical Abstract: Electrical conductivity of soil is useful information to manage agricultural systems, but tools for convenient and inexpensive measurements in the field are generally lacking. Three conductivity probes were designed to evaluate naturally occurring and man influenced total soluble electrolyte levels in soil and water. The probes were used to survey and monitor field and laboratory electrical conductivity to improve food production and soil quality. A pencil sized probe (PP) was connected to a hand held Hanna1 (DiST WP 4) conductivity meter, resulting in an economical, compact, and easy to use device. The tool provided accurate and precise results when compared to laboratory instrumentation. Soil samples ranging from 0.13 ' 2.32 dS m-1 had coefficients of variation ranging from 0.0 ' 25.3% with an average of 9.3%. Water samples ranged from 0.10 ' 10.00 dS m-1 and had coefficients of variation ranging from 0.7 ' 10.1% with an average of 3.4%.