Soil conductivity as a measure of soil and crop stains - A four-year summary

Roger A. Eigenberg, John A. Nienaber, Bryan L. Woodbury, Richard B. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Animal manure can be an important resource providing soil available N for plant needs, but determining the nutrient availability resulting from such amendments is difficult. A study was conducted to examine changes in electromagnetic induction (EMI) soil conductivity and available N levels during four growing seasons in relation to manure or compost application and use of a green winter cover crop. With simultaneous soil samples, a series of soil conductivity maps of a research cornfield were generated using a global positioning system (GPS) and EMI methods. The Clay Center, NE, site was treated during a 10-yr period with a winter wheat (Secale cereale L.) winter cover crop (+CC) and no-cover crop (-CC). The site was split for sub-treatments of manure and compost at rates matching either the P or the N requirements of silage corn (Zea mays L.). Differences between the +CC and -CC treatments for values of NO3-N and water-filled pore space (WFPS), as estimated by apparent electrical conductivity (ECa), were compared for each year. Differences in profile weighted soil conductivity explained 79.5, 98.0, 93.4, and 98.4% of the variability due to NO3-N differences, and only 20.5, 2.0, 6.6, and 1.6% of the variability due to WFPS differences for years 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003, respectively. Sequential measurement of profile-weighted soil electrical conductivity (ECa) was effective in identifying the dynamic changes in plant-available soil N, as affected by animal manure and anhydrous ammonia fertilizer treatments during four corn growing seasons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1600-1611
Number of pages12
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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