Databases identifying spatial distributions of soil properties are needed to implement site-specific management practices. This study examined spatial patterns for nine soil chemical properties in two adjacent fields, one in a corn (Zea mays L.)-soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] rotation with inorganic fertilizer and the other in a 5-yr corn-soybean-corn-oat (Avena sativa L.)-meadow rotation with organic nutrient sources. We established sampling grids in both fields and collected soil cores to a depth of 30 cm. Soil properties with strong spatial correlations (low nugget variance/total variance ratio) and the maximum distance to which those properties were correlated (range) differed for the two fields. Soil pH, exchangeable Ca, total organic C, and total N were strongly correlated and had range values greater than 182 m in the conventional field. Bray P and exchangeable Mg were strongly correlated with range values of less than 100 m within the other. Low nugget/total variance ratios and small range values for P and Mg suggest patchy distributions, probably from long-term animal manure and municipal sludge application. Since most variance was structural in the organic field, placing sampling points closer together would improve data precision. In contrast, a relatively coarse sampling grid with fewer sampling points spaced further apart appears adequate for the conventional field. To develop accurate sampling strategies for precision agriculture, long-term field management histories should be documented since the practices appear to affect both the properties that are strongly correlated and the range to which the correlation exists.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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