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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #306822

Title: Estimation of CI-based soil compaction status from soil apparent electrical conductivity

item CHUNG, SUN-OK - Chungnam National University
item Sudduth, Kenneth - Ken

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/26/2014
Publication Date: 7/13/2014
Citation: Chung, S., Sudduth, K.A. 2014. Estimation of CI-based soil compaction status from soil apparent electrical conductivity. ASABE Annual International Meeting. Paper No. 14192472. [Available Online].

Interpretive Summary: Precision agriculture aims both to minimize costs and environmental damage caused by agricultural activities and to maximize crop yield and profitability, all based on information collected at within-field locations. Soil 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, but standard methods are time-consuming when used to map within-field variations. To overcome this limitation, we investigated whether soil apparent electrical conductivity (ECa), which can be measured by commercial mobile sensors, could be used as a surrogate measure of compaction. Using a “stress-at-rest” approach, we found good results for some datasets, but not for others. Additional research will be required to more completely understand the relationship of ECa and basic soil properties to the stress-at-rest compaction measurement. If this can be achieved, findings will benefit researchers and practitioners wanting to use this more efficient way of assessing soil compaction.

Technical Abstract: Regionalization of soil properties is very important for successful site-specific field management. Soil compaction is a critical issue to be detected and managed due to its effects on crop growth. Soil compaction has been conventionally quantified as cone index (CI) measured by an ASABE-standard cone penetrometer, but this approach has limited capability of obtaining the spatially-dense data required for precision agriculture. A significant amount of past research has related CI with apparent soil electrical conductivity (ECa), and recently the potential of ECa to estimate subsoil compaction status through the stress-at-rest-coefficient (K0), defined as the ratio of normal compaction and pre-compaction, was introduced. The objective of this study was to explore the potential of relating K0 with ECa using data obtained from sites with wide ranges of soil texture, bulk density, and water content, properties that significantly affect both CI and ECa. The following data was collected from 35 sites in Missouri and Illinois fields: CI profile up to 75 cm with a 5-cm interval, ECa measured by EM38 and Veris devices, and depth-dependent soil properties such as soil texture, bulk density, and water content. First, K0 values were calculated from CI profiles by depth and related to ECa measurements. Then, effects of the soil properties on the relationships between K0 and ECa were investigated. Results of this study will provide insights on the effects of soil properties on soil compaction, and on the potential to use ECa to estimate the status of soil compaction.