Soil property spatial & temporal variability sensing for precision agriculture

Abstract

The world's population has doubled in the past three decades and continues to grow. Intensive farming practices have so far met the increasing demand for food, but they have had a significant, negative environmental impact. Precision agriculture uses technology to increase efficiency and reduce the environmental impacts of farming. A novel sensor concept has been designed for measuring spatial and temporal variability of soil properties. The design uses an array of circumferential electrodes to take a series of four-point resistivity measurements; this allows a depth profile of soil properties to be obtained. The design concept was implemented and evaluated in a range of contexts, including controlled and real-world soil tests. The effects of agricultural inputs on soil properties can be identified from the system's measurements. The system can successfully measure soil variability, justifying future development.

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