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Research article, 2008

The use of near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy to improve soil mapping at the farm scale

Wetterlind, Johanna; Stenberg, Bo; Söderström, Mats


The creation of fine resolution soil maps is hampered by the increasing costs associated with conventional laboratory analyses of soil. In this study, near infrared (NIR) reflectance spectroscopy was used to reduce the number of conventional soil analyses required by the use of calibration models at the farm scale. Soil electrical conductivity and mid infrared (MIR) reflection from a satellite image were used and compared as ancillary data to guide the targeting of soil sampling. About 150 targeted samples were taken over a 97 hectare farm (approximately 1.5 samples per hectare) for each type of ancillary data. A sub-set of 25 samples was selected from each of the targeted data sets (150 points) to measure clay and soil organic matter (SOM) contents for calibration with NIR. For the remaining 125 samples only their NIR-spectra needed to be determined. The NIR calibration models for both SOM and clay contents resulted in predictions with small errors. Maps derived from the calibrated data were compared with a map based on 0.5 samples per hectare representing a conventional farm-scale soil map. The maps derived from the NIR-calibrated data are promising, and the potential for developing a cost-effective strategy to map soil from NIR-calibrated data at the farm-scale is considerable.


Near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy; Soil electrical conductivity; Partial least squares regression; Satellite imagery; Mid infrared reflection (MIR)

Published in

Precision Agriculture
2008, number: 9
Publisher: Springer Science + Business Media

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