Optimum size in grid soil sampling for variable rate application in site-specific management

  • Marcos Rafael Nanni UEM; Depto. de Agronomia
  • Fabrício Pinheiro Povh USP; ESALQ; Programa de Pós-Graduação em Fitotecnia
  • José Alexandre Melo Demattê USP; ESALQ; Depto. de Ciência do Solo
  • Roney Berti de Oliveira UEM; Depto. de Agronomia
  • Marcelo Luiz Chicati UEM; Depto. de Agronomia
  • Everson Cezar UEM; Depto. de Agronomia
Keywords: soil attributes, grid sampling, kriging, cross-validation, kappa statistic


The importance of understanding spatial variability of soils is connected to crop management planning. This understanding makes it possible to treat soil not as a uniform, but a variable entity, and it enables site-specific management to increase production efficiency, which is the target of precision agriculture. Questions remain as the optimum soil sampling interval needed to make site-specific fertilizer recommendations in Brazil. The objectives of this study were: i) to evaluate the spatial variability of the main attributes that influence fertilization recommendations, using georeferenced soil samples arranged in grid patterns of different resolutions; ii) to compare the spatial maps generated with those obtained with the standard sampling of 1 sample ha-1, in order to verify the appropriateness of the spatial resolution. The attributes evaluated were phosphorus (P), potassium (K), organic matter (OM), base saturation (V%) and clay. Soil samples were collected in a 100 × 100 m georeferenced grid. Thinning was performed in order to create a grid with one sample every 2.07, 2.88, 3.75 and 7.20 ha. Geostatistical techniques, such as semivariogram and interpolation using kriging, were used to analyze the attributes at the different grid resolutions. This analysis was performed with the Vesper software package. The maps created by this method were compared using the kappa statistics. Additionally, correlation graphs were drawn by plotting the observed values against the estimated values using cross-validation. P, K and V%, a finer sampling resolution than the one using 1 sample ha-1 is required, while for OM and clay coarser resolutions of one sample every two and three hectares, respectively, may be acceptable.


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How to Cite
Nanni, M., Povh, F., Demattê, J., Oliveira, R., Chicati, M., & Cezar, E. (2011). Optimum size in grid soil sampling for variable rate application in site-specific management . Scientia Agricola, 68(3), 386-392. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0103-90162011000300017
Soils and Plant Nutrition