, Volume 8, Issue 4-5, pp 213-223
Date: 06 Oct 2007

Mobile TDR for geo-referenced measurement of soil water content and electrical conductivity

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The development of site-specific crop management is constrained by the availability of sensors for monitoring important soil and crop related conditions. A mobile time-domain reflectometry (TDR) unit for geo-referenced soil measurements has been developed and used for detailed mapping of soil water content and electrical conductivity within two research fields. Measurements made during the early or late season, when soil moisture levels are close to field capacity, are related to the amount of plant available water and soil texture. Combined measurements of water content and electrical conductivity are closely related to the clay and silt fractions of a variable field. The application to early season field mapping of water content, electrical conductivity and clay content is presented. The water and clay content maps are to be used for automated delineation of field management units. Based on a spatial analysis of the soil water measurements, recommendations are made with respect to sampling strategies. Depending on the variability of a given area, between 15 and 30 ha can be mapped with respect to soil moisture and electrical conductivity with sufficient detail within 8 h.