Alternative Method to Choose Locations for Soil Scout Sensors
While in-field variation of farming soils has for a while been assessed by different kinds of cameras, methods that actually get involved with the dirt are becoming commercially available as well. Today among the very first farms in Finland, the field plots at Soil Scout trial farm were scanned by Juha and Jussi Knaapi with a combination of an on-the-go Veristech soil scanner and a Wintex soil sampler.
The scanner measures three soil parameters on the fly:
2) NIR organic content
Note the water tank on the scanner – the water is used for the mandatory washing of the pH sensor after every sample analysis (which is why Soil Scout does not include pH sensing).
Once the scan is complete, the soil organic matter (SOM) map remains a relative heat map. This is why the system finally decides 3 locations for collecting soil samples: a high, an average, and a low NIR value point. These points are then sampled with the Wintex and sent for accurate laboratory SOM analysis to provide calibration values for the remaining map.
This above-described method applies the basic cost-saving philosophy of using smart techniques to decide a few points of high interest and then measuring those by sophisticated means. This is exactly what Soil Scout does regarding the continuous monitoring of soil moisture and temperature conditions: choosing the essential locations based on vegetative observations and recommending those for Soil Scout wireless sensor points.
This summer we will be able to compare up to six different methods to define in-field zoning and bring our experiences to the benefit of our Soil Scout customers. The mapping is carried out in co-operation with the MIKÄ DATA research program at the Pori university center.
Contact Soil Scout for more about soil monitoring in agriculture!