American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Sensor Technologies for Precision Soil Nutrient Management and Monitoring

A. Bah, S. K. Balasundram and M. H.A. Husni

DOI : 10.3844/ajabssp.2012.43.49

American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Volume 7, Issue 1

Pages 43-49


Problem statement: Growing concerns about the need to increase crop productivity without causing environmental injury have led to the deployment of site-specific strategies in soil nutrient management, where nutrients are applied in variable rates to fit local requirements. Variable rate application of nutrients is typically based on a rigorous sampling regime and time-consuming data analyses. The ability to monitor soil nutrient concentration efficiently is highly desirable. Approach: On-site monitoring of soil nutrient concentration offers the opportunity for higher density measurements at relatively lower costs. This would allow for an efficient mapping of nutrient variability to facilitate variable-rate nutrient application. Results: Implementation of nutrient management programs using sensor technology potentially promotes environmental stewardship while maintaining crop productivity and profitability. Rapid and non-destructive quantification of spatially-variable soil nutrients has been made possible with on-the-go sensors such as optical, electromagnetic and electrochemical sensors. Conclusion: This review demonstrates the potential of on-the-go sensors for non-destructive and rapid characterization of soil nutrient variability within crop fields.


© 2012 A. Bah, S. K. Balasundram and M. H.A. Husni. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.