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Revista Colombiana de Ciencias Hortícolas
June 2015 - Vol. 9, No. 1


Apparent electrical conductivity sensor used to define homogeneous management zones in saline soils

Julio Rojas, Andres Guerra, Jaime Arevalo, Laureano Guerrero and Fabio Leiva

pp.: 86-96

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17584/rcch.2015v9i1.3748

Salt-induced soil degradation is a serious problem worldwide. In Colombia, about 5% of soils are affected by salinization processes, with negative impacts on ecosystem services. The identification of the type and state of salinity in agricultural soils is complex and requires consideration of the variability that occurs within the crop field. This can be done by identifying homogeneous management zones (MZ) according to site-specific soil conditions. This paper presents research advances in which a soil apparent electrical conductivity sensor (ECa) was used to identify the MZ in saline soils. Field trials were conducted in two agricultural fields at the Marengo Agricultural Research Center (Mosquera, Cundinamerca). An EM38-MK2 Geonics® sensor was used to record CEa data in parallel transects spaced 15 m apart, with an effective exploration depth of 075 m. Simultaneously, the soil water content (Wsc) was measured in a regular 15 × 50 m grid using a Time Domain Reflectometer. The data analysis included descriptive statistics with SPSS 22 and mapping of the ECa and Wsc using ArcGIS 10; this allowed for the identification of three MZs per field. In each MZ, three soil samples were taken for laboratory analysis of the physicochemical properties of the soil. The study showed significant advantages when using the EM38-MK2 to identify MZs when characterized by differences in the soil chemical properties associated with salinity. The employed methodology will make a significant contribution to sitespecific management of saline soils for agriculture.

Additional key words: salinity, sodicity, spatial variability, site-specific management, precision farming.


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