Field-Scale Apparent Electrical Conductivity Mapping of Soil Properties in Precision Agriculture
The physical examination of a functioning cacao farm revealed varying pod production rates in its area. Agricultural soil nutrients assessment is usually through soil geochemical/chemical analyses which are laborious and expensive, necessitating faster/cheaper alternatives. This investigation assessed the physical properties that can substitute for geochemical analysis of soil nutrient. The study was executed at 0.3 m depth. The Volumetric Water Content-VWC and Apparent Electrical Conductivity-ECa of the soils were determined using VG-meter-200 moisture-meter and resistivity earth-meter. 912 ECa/VWC points were measured. Soil textural classes (51-sample) were established using Bouyoucos method. Falling head permeability test was conducted on nine cored soil samples for water infiltration assessment. The soils ECa (10-344 µS/cm) and VWC distributions (2-69%) showed similar variation, increase in VWC corresponds to rise in ECa value; soil moisture aids the mobility of ions in solution and a rise in ECa connotes presence of more dissolved ions. The soils were classified as sandy loam, loamy sand and sandy clayey loam. Soils’ permeability ranged from 4.11x10-5-3.97x10-3 cm/sec; infiltration rate varied inversely with the ECa accounting for the moisture variation. Low permeable soil has high nutrient retention and water-holding capacities. Soil physical properties were effective in evaluating the nutrient inconsistency.
electrical conductivity; volumetric water content; soil texture; soil permeability; soil nutrient.
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