[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

BD Now! Soil EC meters to measure phosphorus and more.... Univ of Missouri research

Scientists Explore Applications for Soil Conductivity Testing
Missouri Ag Connection - 04/16/2004

When the concept of soil electrical conductivity was first introduced, some scientists called it "a solution looking for a problem." There is no longer a shortage of problems to which soil electrical conductivity (EC) can be gainfully applied. It can measure topsoil depth and texture, organic matter, water holding capacity, salinity and
other important factors.

Many people are unaware that soil conducts electricity, or that a measurement of that conductivity can provide valuable information. Because water, salts and clay particles conduct better than soil air pockets, organic matter, silt or sand, soil EC sensors can provide useful soil profiles at a fraction of the cost of conventional
grid sampling.

To map soil EC, a soil EC sensor is combined with Global Positioning Systems,
and observations are collected on-the-go over a field. There are two types
of equipment used to measure soil EC. One uses electrodes that penetrate the soil and emit an electric current while another electrode pair senses and records the electricity conducted from one set to another. The second method induces a magnetic field into the soil profile while a sensor mounted behind the towing
vehicle measures the current and collects the data. Both can generate maps
of soil EC that can be profitably compared to yield maps and other data.

One recent application of the technology is to determine the amount of soil
phosphorus in different parts of a field to which poultry litter has been applied. As stricter regulations are implemented regarding the disposal of animal waste,
poultry producers will need to manage the waste more efficiently to reduce
the risk of environmental contamination. Over-application of poultry litter
on crop or pasture fields results in high phosphorus content that can pollute
streams, lakes and reservoirs.

Scientists from the University of Missouri and Oklahoma State University
teamed up with state and federal agencies to see whether soil EC measurements
could efficiently estimate whether soil is low enough in phosphorus to bear
more applications.


BDNow mailing list
You can unsubscribe or change your options at: