AGRICULTURAL SOIL MAPPING

Benefits include:

- Identify optimal locations for physical soil nutrient sampling
- Create zones for custom cultivation, nutrient and fertilisers
- Vary seed rates and irrigation according to soil conditions
- Long-term investment in soil productivity

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Map and Measure Soil Texture and Available Water

Soil quality (texture, nutrient holding capacity and available water) has been shown over many years to be one of the biggest variables in crop yield. Many farmers still try to manage soil variability using their knowledge of years of crop outcomes, but how do you pass that on to the next generation?

“When we started getting into yield mapping, it showed how soil type consistently impacted on yield and then how yield matched the soils’ water-holding capacity” – NSW grain grower Broughton Boydell (GRDC GroundCover magazine)

Electromagnetic (EM) soil analysis is proven to help identify and map soil texture patterns and soil variability across even quite large farms – especially when combined with physical soil sampling and laboratory testing. EM soil maps can identify where physical soil samples should be taken for optimal results, vastly improving their effectiveness and saving you money. Integrating sampling results into the EM analysis can identify zones across fields and entire farms where common management strategies will improve crop yields.

Queensland Drones provides precision electromagnetic (EM/ECa) soil zone mapping using the state-of-the-art ground-based electromagnetic sensors in combination with precision GPS location equipment. We can provide this service anywhere from Mackay to Maclean and west to St George.

Because soil profiles don’t change much over time, your investment in EM soil mapping will produce productivity returns for many years to come.

EM soil conductivity mapping is mainly about measuring sub-soil moisture holding capability, soil texture and salinity. Different soil types (sand, loam, clay, etc) will conduct electromagnetic energy differently, so using the right equipment it’s quite simple to map the different soil types, at different depths, across a field or an entire farm.

Soil conductivity is an excellent proxy for soil fertility, measuring how well the soil can retain water between rainfall or irrigation periods and how well the soil will absorb, retain and deliver key nutrients like nitrogen (K), potassium (P) and Magnesium (Mg) to the crop as it grows. EM soil conductivity mapping has been shown in numerous studies to be a reliably proxy for yield estimates in most soil types.

EM soil profiling allows you to limit expensive and complex soil testing to single sample points in each soil management zone, with sample point results able to be reliably interpolated to the entire management zone (zones of similar conductivity) and map soil variability across a field or an entire farm.

Our electromagnetic (EM) soil profiling data can help to determine:

  • Water retention capacity and drainage characteristics of each field – how soil zones absorb water and deal with excess water. Because water retention typically has the most significant major impact on crop yield, this alone should justify the investment in EC zone mapping.
  • Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) of each field – how well the soil can absorb, retain and release essential crop nutrients like fertilisers.
  • Depth and profile of top soil for each field – identifying how deep the top soil goes before it reaches clay layers and rock outcrops.

Using this data, variable rate prescription maps can be developed to identify:

  • Variable seeding and nitrogen spreading rates based on CEC and yield targets
  • Variable tillage and seeding rates based on depth of top soil layer
  • Variable herbicide application rates based on CEC, soil texture and organic content
  • Variable lime application rates based on CEC levels and EC zones
  • Variable gypsum application rates based on soil sodic zones
  • No-till planting zones and seeding exclusion zones
  • Soil variability for even small areas, like seed trial plots

Our EM soil conductivity mapping and soil testing services are guided by the best practice recommendations of Part 3 the GRDC’s Precision Agriculture Manual and conducted under the supervision of a highly qualified soil analysis scientist and GIS mapping consultant.

If you would like to find out more about EM soil profiling for your property, please complete the EM Soil Profiling Enquiry form below or contact us now for an obligation-free chat.