It is common knowledge that the fertility of soil can vary. There can be a lot of difference in the soil, even within a space of 100 meters. This variability in soil may be due to natural phenomenon or because human factors. Whatever the reason, this will certainly affect crop yields.
This part of soil management has ignored the variability of soil within small distances, whether while tilling or applying fertilizers. Good knowledge of these factors can help in administering site-specific inputs like fertilizers, which ensure proper soil management and avoid environmental pollution. Farmers have kept away from soil tests due to the high costs of soil mapping.
Of late, there have been number of technological improvements to guide the farmers regarding the conditions of the soil. One of these are new multi-sensor platforms to gauge the soil variability conditions. These systems consist of modules of sensors, though it is advisable to take the service of experts for deployment and use of sensors. Modules consist of geo-electrical devices, spectrometers and pH meters. These are used to determine the soil characteristics for agricultural purposes.
While geo-electrical sensors bring out the soil textural differences, like minerals and the distribution size of particles, the pH meter on the other hand measures chemical properties of the soil, and the spectrometer enables us capture light which is reflected at various wavebands both in the near infrared and visible ranges.
The spectra of the soil is related to various other properties of the soil. Examples of these other properties include organic substances and the extent to which they have spread within a particular area, as also presence of nitrogen and phosphorous - analyzing these details in actual conditions, is indeed a difficult task. For this purpose, fresh algorithms for data fusion of various sensors are being looked into.