Soil Analysis for Precision Agriculture

Using a field spectroradiometer to analyze soil properties

Traditional soil sampling processes are slow and expensive: gathering soil samples, preparing them for analysis, sending them to the lab, and waiting for the data. As a result, very few farmers have access to fast and accurate soil data. As concerns grow about more efficient agricultural practices, the effects of climate change, over-fertilization with chemicals, erosion, and pollution, the availability of field spectrometry for soil science becomes increasingly popular. A field spectroradiometer offers the possibility of accurately categorizing soil/land changes over a large area quickly.

For example, taking in situ measurements rapidly and without preparing or in any way affecting the sample, spectral information related to the main nitrogen absorption features near 1450, 1850, 2250, 2330, and 2430nm provide not only indications of nitrogen content but also can be used to derive quantitative information on total nitrogen using chemometrics programs like R or Camo’s Unbscrambler.

A field spectroradiometer, such as the SPECTRAL EVOLUTION PSR+, SR-6500, NaturaSpec™, RS-8800 or RS-3500, allows a researcher to apply hyperspectral and multi-spectral data from satellite and airborne flyovers with field measurements.

The PSR+ is ideal for soil analysis and mapping applications because
it delivers:

  • Fast, full spectrum UV/VIS/NIR measurements with a spectral range
    from 350-2500nm with just one scan
  • Ultra-fast operation with autoshutter, autoexposure and auto-dark correction before each new scan – no optimization step
  • Small and lightweight with rechargeable Li-ion batteries for field operation—half the weight of competitive instruments
  • Superior signal to noise ratio with faster scan times and better reflectance measurement
  • Reliable field performance with an all photodiode array platform and no
    moving gratings
  • Detachable, field replaceable fiber optic and field swappable optics for varying target sizes and different measurement modes
  • Single user operation with optional rugged tablet that provides a sunlight
    readable screen plus the ability to tag spectra with GPS, digital
    camera images, and audio notes

All SPECTRAL EVOLUTION spectroradiometers come equipped with DARWin Data Acquisition software that collects data and saves it to a compatible ASCII format for use with 3rd party chemometric analysis software without requiring post-collection processing.