Alternative method to choose Scout locations 2 – Veristech

While in-field variation of farming soils has for a while been assessed by different kinds 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: 1) conductivity, 2) NIR organic content and 3) pH. 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. Which 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 sensor points.

This summer we will be able to compare up to 6 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.

Alternative method to choose Scout locations 1 – Geocarta

A strict grid method for collecting soil samples or installing soil sensors is a very ineffective approach as it will produce lots of unnecessary data points and a high cost. The most frequently used method for the Soil Scout team in helping farmers choose the most beneficial locations for instrumentation within their fields is to recognize good/average/poor growing spots from infrared satellite image browsers, such as the Sentinel Playground. After all, there is no telling beforehand whether a poorly growing spot is too wet or too dry – but surely it is not optimal.

Today a more hands-on approach to identify soil texture zones was tried out at the Soil Scout trial farm in Ulvila, Finland. A patrol from the Geocarta visited the fields with their on-the-go soil resistivity mapper. Their soil texture mapping philosophy is identical to ours: where to collect productive soil samples for a detailed laboratory analysis is chosen by mapping the apparent resistivity variations and identifying zones, which differ from each other for a fact, but the actual characteristics remain unknown until the soil samples have been analysed.

Once the raw data has been post processed, we will soon find out how the soil texture maps correlate to the observed yield potential differences within the fields, and how well the soil sampling coordinates will correlate to our selection of Soil Scout sensor locations! The mapping is carried out in co-operation with the MIKÄ DATA research program at the Pori university center.

Soil Scout joins Cleantech Finland

Cleantech Finland

Soil Scout is proud to have been accepted as a member of Cleantech Finland, and to be recognised as a company driving a sustainable future through improved resources efficiency in Agriculture and other industries.

Cleantech Finland is a network of top Cleantech companies and experts. They bring the world’s best Cleantech solutions and expertise to companies and public-sector organisations that have environmental or energy-efficiency problems that need solving. They also connect potential investors and partners with the best Cleantech experts in the market.