Fusion of different data layers, such as data from soil analysis and proximal soil sensing, is essential to improve assessment of spatial variation in soil and yield. On-line visible and near infrared (Vis–NIR) spectroscopy have been proved to provide high resolution information about spatial variability of key soil properties. Multivariate geostatistics tools were successfully implemented for the delineation of management zones (MZs) for precision application of crop inputs. This research was conducted in a 18 ha field to delineate MZs, using a multi-source data set, which consisted of eight laboratory measured soil variables (pH, available phosphorus (P), cation exchange capacity, total nitrogen (TN), total carbon (TC), exchangeable potassium (K), sand, silt) and four on-line collected Vis–NIR spectra-based predicted soil variables (pH, P, K and moisture content). The latter set of data was predicted using the partial least squares regression (PLSR) technique. The quality of the calibration models was evaluated by cross-validation. Multi-collocated cokriging was applied to the soil and spectral data set to produce thematic spatial maps, whereas multi-collocated factor cokriging was applied to delineate MZ. The Vis–NIR predicted K was chosen as the exhaustive variable, because it was the most correlated with the soil variables. A yield map of barley was interpolated by means of the inverse distance weighting method and was then classified into 3 iso-frequency classes (low, medium and high). To assess the productivity potential of the different zones of the field, spatial association between MZs and yield classes was calculated. Results showed that the prediction performance of PLSR calibration models for pH, P, MC and K were of excellent to moderate quality. The geostatistical model revealed good performance. The estimates of the first regionalised factor produced three MZs of equal size in the studied field. The loading coefficients for TC, pH and TN of the first factor were highest and positive. This means that the first factor can be assumed as a synthetic indicator of soil fertility. The overall spatial association between the yield classes and MZs was about 40 %, which reveals that more than 50 % of the yield variation can be attributed to more dynamic factors than soil parameters, such as agro-meteorological conditions, plant diseases and nutrition stresses. Nevertheless, multivariate geostatistics proved to be an effective approach for site-specific management of agricultural fields.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 27, 2015
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