Practical Implications of the Availability of Multiple Measurements to Classify Agricultural Soil Compaction: A Case-Study in The Netherlands

Tijn L. van Orsouw, Vera L. Mulder*, Jeroen M. Schoorl, Gera J. van Os, Everhard A. van Essen, Karin H.J. Pepers, Gerard B.M. Heuvelink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Soil compaction is a severe threat to agricultural productivity, as it can lead to yield losses ranging from 5% to 40%. Quantification of the state of compaction can help farmers and land managers to determine the optimal management to avoid these losses. Bulk density is often used as an indicator for compaction. It is a costly and time-consuming measurement, making it less suitable for farmers and land managers. Alternatively, measurements of penetration resistance can be used. These measurements are cheaper and quicker but are prone to uncertainty due to the existence of a wide array of thresholds. Classifications using either measurement may provide different outcomes when used in the same location, as they approximate soil compaction using different mechanisms. In this research, we assessed the level of agreement between soil compaction classifications using bulk density and penetration resistance for an agricultural field in Flevoland, the Netherlands. Additionally, we assessed the possible financial implications of misclassification. Balanced accuracy results indicate that most thresholds from the literature show around 70% agreement between both methods, with a maximum level of agreement of 76% at 1.8 and 1.9 MPa. The expected cost of misclassification shows a dip between 1.0 and 3.0 MPa, with an effect of crop value on the shape of the cost function. Although these results are specific to our study area, we believe they show that there is a substantial effect of the choice of measurement on the outcome of soil compaction studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1669
JournalAgronomy
Volume12
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • bulk density
  • confusion matrix
  • field measurements
  • misclassification costs
  • penetration resistance
  • soil structure

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