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Direct prediction of site-specific lime requirement of arable fields using the base neutralizing capacity and a multi-sensor platform for on-the-go soil mapping (2022)

Vogel S., Bönecke E., Kling C., Kramer E., Lück K., Philipp G., Rühlmann J., Schröter I., Gebbers R.

Precision Agriculture, 23 (1), 127-149

doi:10.1007/s11119-021-09830-x

Abstract

AbstractLiming agricultural fields is necessary for counteracting soil acidity and is one of the oldest operations in soil fertility management. However, the best management practice for liming in Germany only insufficiently considers within-field soil variability. Thus, a site-specific variable rate liming strategy was developed and tested on nine agricultural fields in a quaternary landscape of north-east Germany. It is based on the use of a proximal soil sensing module using potentiometric, geoelectric and optical sensors that have been found to be proxies for soil pH, texture and soil organic matter (SOM), which are the most relevant lime requirement (LR) affecting soil parameters. These were compared to laboratory LR analysis of reference soil samples using the soil’s base neutralizing capacity (BNC). Sensor data fusion utilizing stepwise multi-variate linear regression (MLR) analysis was used to predict BNC-based LR (LRBNC) for each field. The MLR models achieved high adjusted R2 values between 0.70 and 0.91 and low RMSE values from 65 to 204 kg CaCO3 ha−1. In comparison to univariate modeling, MLR models improved prediction by 3 to 27% with 9% improvement on average. The relative importance of covariates in the field-specific prediction models were quantified by computing standardized regression coefficients (SRC). The importance of covariates varied between fields, which emphasizes the necessity of a field-specific calibration of proximal sensor data. However, soil pH was the most important parameter for LR determination of the soils studied. Geostatistical semivariance analysis revealed differences between fields in the spatial variability of LRBNC. The sill-to-range ratio (SRR) was used to quantify and compare spatial LRBNC variability of the nine test fields. Finally, high resolution LR maps were generated. The BNC-based LR method also produces negative LR values for soil samples with pH values above which lime is required. Hence, the LR maps additionally provide an estimate on the quantity of chemically acidifying fertilizers that can be applied to obtain an optimal soil pH value. Intelligence for Soil