The general objectives of this study were to evaluate (i) the specificity of the spatial and temporal dynamics of apparent soil electrical conductivity (ECa) measured by a electromagnetic induction (EMI) sensor, over 7 years, in variable conditions (of soil moisture content (SMC), soil vegetation cover and grazing management) and, consequently, (ii) the potential for implementing site-specific management (SSM). The DUALEM 1S sensor was used to measure the ECa in a 6 ha pasture experimental field four times between June 2007 and February of 2013. Soil spatial variability was characterized by 76 samples, geo-referenced with the global positioning system (GPS). The soil was characterized in terms of texture, moisture content, pH, organic matter content, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. This study shows a significant temporal stability of the ECa patterns under several conditions, behavior that is an excellent indicator of reliability of this tool to survey spatial soil variability and to delineate potential site-specific management zones (SSMZ). Significant correlations were obtained in this work between the ECa and relative field elevation, pH, silt and soil moisture content. These results open perspectives for using the EMI sensor as an indicator of SMC in irrigation management and of needs of limestone correction in Mediterranean pastures. However, it is interesting to extend the findings to other types of soil to verify the origin of the lack of correlation between the ECa data measured by DUALEM sensor and properties such as the clay, organic matter or phosphorus soil content, fundamental parameters for establishment of pasture SSM projects.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 21, 2016
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