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Agronomy 2018, 8(5), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8050059

Characterizing Spatial Variability in Soil Water Content for Precision Irrigation Management

1
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1170, USA
2
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 8 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensing and Automated Systems for Improved Crop Management)
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Abstract

Among one of the many challenges in implementing precision irrigation is to obtain an accurate characterization of the soil water content (SWC) across spatially variable fields along the crop growing season. The accuracy of characterizing SWC has been tested primarily on a small-scale and has received little attention from the scientific community at the field scale. Hence, the objective of this study was to assess the characterization of the spatial distribution of soil water content at the field scale by the apparent electrical conductivity (ECa). In evaluating the current aim, ECa survey was compared against repeated measurements of SWC at five depths using neutron probe. Results showed that mean SWC was different across ECa derived management zones, which indicates that on a macro-scale, soil ECa could effectively characterize the mean differences in SWC across management zones. Results also showed that deep ECa (0–150 cm) survey outperformed shallow survey (0–75 cm). Considering other soil properties, such as organic matter content and salt content, further improved the relationship between SWC and ECa. View Full-Text
Keywords: prescription map; small-scale; field scale; spatial distribution; management zones prescription map; small-scale; field scale; spatial distribution; management zones
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de Lara, A.; Khosla, R.; Longchamps, L. Characterizing Spatial Variability in Soil Water Content for Precision Irrigation Management. Agronomy 2018, 8, 59.

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