The arable farmer as the assessor of within-field soil variation

The arable farmer as the assessor of within-field soil variation Feasible, fast and reliable methods of mapping within-field variation are required for precision agriculture. Within precision agriculture research much emphasis has been put on technology, whereas the knowledge that farmers have and ways to explore it have received little attention. This research characterizes and examines the spatial knowledge arable farmers have of their fields and explores whether it is a suitable starting point to map the within-field variation of soil properties. A case study was performed in the Hoeksche Waard, the Netherlands, at four arable farms. A combination of semi-structured interviews and fieldwork was used to map spatially explicit knowledge of within-field variation. At each farm, a field was divided into internally homogeneous units as directed by the farmer, the soil of the units was sampled and the data were analysed statistically. The results show that the farmers have considerable spatial knowledge of their fields. Furthermore, they apply this knowledge intuitively during various field management activities such as fertilizer application, soil tillage and herbicide application. The sample data on soil organic matter content, clay content and fertility show that in general the farmers’ knowledge formed a suitable starting point for mapping within-field variation in the soil. Therefore, it should also be considered as an important information source for highly automated precision agriculture systems. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Precision Agriculture Springer Journals

The arable farmer as the assessor of within-field soil variation

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 by The Author(s)
Subject
Life Sciences; Agriculture; Soil Science & Conservation; Remote Sensing/Photogrammetry; Statistics for Engineering, Physics, Computer Science, Chemistry and Earth Sciences; Atmospheric Sciences
ISSN
1385-2256
eISSN
1573-1618
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11119-010-9197-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Feasible, fast and reliable methods of mapping within-field variation are required for precision agriculture. Within precision agriculture research much emphasis has been put on technology, whereas the knowledge that farmers have and ways to explore it have received little attention. This research characterizes and examines the spatial knowledge arable farmers have of their fields and explores whether it is a suitable starting point to map the within-field variation of soil properties. A case study was performed in the Hoeksche Waard, the Netherlands, at four arable farms. A combination of semi-structured interviews and fieldwork was used to map spatially explicit knowledge of within-field variation. At each farm, a field was divided into internally homogeneous units as directed by the farmer, the soil of the units was sampled and the data were analysed statistically. The results show that the farmers have considerable spatial knowledge of their fields. Furthermore, they apply this knowledge intuitively during various field management activities such as fertilizer application, soil tillage and herbicide application. The sample data on soil organic matter content, clay content and fertility show that in general the farmers’ knowledge formed a suitable starting point for mapping within-field variation in the soil. Therefore, it should also be considered as an important information source for highly automated precision agriculture systems.

Journal

Precision AgricultureSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 2, 2010

References

  • Participatory soil survey: Experience in working with a Mesoamerican indigenous community
    Barrera-Bassols, N; Zinck, JA; Ranst, E

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