Assessing sampling designs for determining fertilizer practice from yield data

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Muhammed, S. E., Marchant, B. P., Webster, R., Whitmore, A. P., Dailey, A. G. and Milne, A. E. 2017. Assessing sampling designs for determining fertilizer practice from yield data. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 135 (1 April), pp. 163-174.

AuthorsMuhammed, S. E., Marchant, B. P., Webster, R., Whitmore, A. P., Dailey, A. G. and Milne, A. E.
Abstract

Many farmers sample their soil to measure the concentrations of plant nutrients, so as to decide how much fertilizer to apply. Now that fertilizer can be applied at variable rates farmers want to know whether maps of nutrient concentration made from grid samples or of field subdivisions (zones within their fields) are merited: do such maps lead to greater profit than would a single measurement on a bulked sample for each field when all costs are taken into account? We have examined the merits of grid-based and zone-based sampling strategies over single field-based averages using continuous spatial data on wheat yields at harvest in six fields in southern England and simulated concentrations of phosphorus (P) in the soil. We have taken into account current prices of wheat, P fertilizer and sampling and laboratory analysis. Variograms of yield provide guides for sampling. We show that where variograms have large variances and long effective ranges grid-sampling and mapping are feasible and have large probabilities of being cost-effective. Where effective ranges are short, sampling must be dense to reveal the spatial variation and be expensive, and variable-rate application of fertilizer is likely to be impracticable and almost certainly not cost-effective. We found zone-based sampling was less likely to be cost effective in a similar situation when the management zones were poorly correlated to P concentrations.

Keywordsyield maps; phosphorous; sampling; plant nutrients; variograms
Year of Publication2017
JournalComputers and Electronics in Agriculture
Journal citation135 (1 April), pp. 163-174
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.compag.2017.02.002
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderAgriculture and Horticulture Development Board
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeDelivering Sustainable Systems (SS) [ISPG]
Exploiting Yield Maps and Soil Management Zone
Quantifying Sustainable Systems
Publisher's version
Copyright license
CC BY
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online17 Feb 2017
Publication process dates
Accepted05 Feb 2017
PublisherElsevier
Elsevier Sci Ltd
Grant IDAHDB RD-2012-3785
ISSN0168-1699

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