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Agronomy Journal Abstract - SITE-SPECIFIC MANAGEMENT

Site-Specific Management Zones Based on Soil Electrical Conductivity in a Semiarid Cropping System


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 95 No. 2, p. 303-315
    Received: Nov 14, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): cjohnso2@bigred.unl.edu
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  1. Cinthia K. Johnson *a,
  2. David A. Mortensenb,
  3. Brian J. Wienholda,
  4. John F. Shanahana and
  5. John W. Dorana
  1. a USDA-ARS, 120 Keim Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583-0934
    b Dep. of Crop and Soil Sci., Pennsylvania State Univ., 116 ASI Building, University Park, PA 16802


Site-specific management (SSM) can potentially improve both economic and ecological outcomes in agriculture. Effective SSM requires strong and temporally consistent relationships among identified management zones; underlying soil physical, chemical, and biological parameters; and crop yields. In the central Great Plains, a 250-ha dryland experiment was mapped for apparent electrical conductivity (ECa). Eight fields were individually partitioned into four management zones based on equal ranges of deep (ECDP) and shallow (ECSH) ECa (approximately 0–30 and 0–90 cm depths, respectively). Previous experiments documented negative correlations between ECSH and soil properties indicative of productivity. The objectives of this study were to examine ECSH and ECDP relationships with 2 yr of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and corn (Zea mays L.) yields and to consider the potential applications of ECa–based management zones for SSM in a semiarid cropping system. Within-zone wheat yield means were negatively correlated with ECSH (r = −0.97 to −0.99) and positively correlated with ECDP (r = 0.79–0.97). Within-zone corn yield means showed no consistent relationship with ECSH but positive correlation with ECDP (r = 0.81–0.97). Equal-range and unsupervised classification methods were compared for ECSH; within-zone yield variances declined slightly (0–5%) with the unsupervised approach. Yield response curves relating maximum wheat yields and ECSH revealed a boundary line of maximum yield that decreased with increasing ECSH In this semiarid system, ECSH–based management zones can be used in SSM of wheat for: (i) soil sampling to assess residual nutrients and soil attributes affecting herbicide efficacy, (ii) yield goal determination, and (iii) prescription maps for metering inputs.

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Copyright © 2003. American Society of AgronomyPublished in Agron. J.95:303–315.