Electromagnetic induction (EMI) is a non-destructive technique to measure the apparent electrical conductivity (ECa) of agricultural soils. It has become popular in precision agriculture applications to estimate crop yield from ECa. This study was conducted to relate ECa with soil moisture content (θv) and potato tuber yield under Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada growing conditions and to establish a two-layered soil model for ECa. During year one, horizontal co-planar (HCP), perpendicular co-planar (PRP), and θv were measured with DUALEM-2 sensor and time domain reflectometry (TDR) probe and correlated with yield measured from 12 m2 grids at 40 locations in each of the two potato fields on PEI. During 2018, vertical electrical sounding was undertaken by raising the DUALEM-2 from ground-level at 0.2 m intervals to a height of 1.6 m to investigate variations in ECa with soil depth. A two-layered soil model was developed using generalized reduction gradients to determine the surficial conductivity and thickness, and subsurface conductivity. ECa variables (HCP and PRP), θv, and yield were significantly correlated and remained consistent throughout the study period, indicating their potential in predicting potato tuber yield. ECa in the fields varied both spatially and laterally with depth. GIS interpolated maps of a representative set of data for HCP and tuber yield (2017 data) showed structured spatial patterns and thus feasibility for delineating management zones. Further studies should examine the potato root zone (0.15–0.3 m) ECa specifically for developing higher layered models, which may be useful for accurate prediction of tuber yield. Non-destructive and accurate yield mapping using DUALEM-2 sensor combined with mathematical modelling of soil ECa layering has potential for use in developing management zones in potato fields.
- Apparent electrical conductivity
- Engineering design
- Non-invasive techniques
- Potato yield estimation