Geostatistical Determination of Soil Noise and Soil Phosphorus Spatial Variability
Institute of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Private Bag, Palmerston North 4474, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture7100083
Received: 8 September 2017 / Revised: 25 September 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
This research studies the effect of stratifying soil samples to try and find a suitable depth to establish a geospatial relationship for a practical soil sampling grid in New Zealand hill country. Cores were collected from 200 predetermined sites in grids at two trial sites at “Patitapu” hill country farm in the Wairarapa, New Zealand. Trial 1 was a 200 m × 100 m grid located in a gently undulating paddock. Trial 2 was a 220 m × 80 m grid located on a moderately sloped paddock. Each grid had cores taken at intervals of 5 m, 10 m, or 20 m. Core sites were mapped out prior to going into the field; these points were found using a Leica Geo Systems GS15 (real time kinematic GPS) and marked with pigtail pegs and spray-paint on the ground. Cores were taken using a 50 mm-diameter soil core sampler. Cores were cut into three sections according to depth: A—0–30 mm, B—30–75 mm, and C—75–150 mm. Olsen P lab results were obtained for half of the total 1400 samples due to financial constraints. The results indicate that there was a significant decrease in variability from Section A to Section B for both trials. Section B and C for Trial 1 had similar variability, whereas there was another significant drop in variability from Section B to C in Trial 2. Measuring samples below the top 3 cm appeared to effectively reduce noise when sampled from 3 to 15 cm. However, measuring from 7.5 cm to 15 cm on the slope in Trial 2 reduced variability so much that all results were almost identical, which may mean that there is no measurable representation of plant available P. The reduction in noise by removing the top 3 cm of soil samples is significant for improving current soil nutrient testing methods by allowing better geospatial predictions for whole paddock soil nutrient variability mapping.