On-the-go Soil Strength Profile Sensor to Quantify Spatial and Vertical Variations in Soil Strength

  • Chung, Sun-Ok (Agricultural Engineering Research, National Institute of Agricultural Engineering) ;
  • Sudduth, Kenneth A. (USDA-ARS Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit, University of Missouri)
  • Published : 2005.12.01


Because soil compaction is a concern in crop production and environmental pollution, quantification and management of spatial and vertical variability in soil compaction for soil strength) would be a useful aspect of site -specific field management. In this paper, a soil strength profile sensor (SSPS) that could take measurements continuously while traveling across the field was developed and the performance was evaluated through laboratory and field tests. The SSPS obtained data simultaneously at 5 evenly spaced depths up to 50 em using an array of load cells, each of which was interfaced with a soil-cutting tip. Means of soil strength measurements collected in adjacent, parallel transects were not significantly different, confirming the repeatability of soil strength sensing with the SSPS. Maps created with sensor data showed spatial and vertical variability in soil strength. Depth to the restrictive layer was different for different field locations, and only 5 to 16% of the tested field areas were highly compacted.