A System for the Real-Time Geo-Referenced Measurement of Soil Parameters

A. COMPARETTI, P. FEBO and S. ORLANDO
University of Palermo, Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, Viale delle Scienze 90128, Palermo, Italy

Abstract

COMPARETTI, A., P. FEBO and S. ORLANDO, 2013. A system for the real-time geo-referenced measurement of soil parameters. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 19: 1253-1257

 

The aim of this research is to develop a system for accurately measuring in real-time, collecting and processing a high amount of geo-referenced data of soil physical-mechanical parameters, e.g. cone penetrometer resistance, index of soil compaction, and draft force.
The system for measuring the soil cone penetrometer resistance is comprised of a load cell, connected to a rod, ending with a cone, and is mounted on a frame, fixed to the front part of a tractor. The system for measuring the draft force required to till the soil is comprised of a load cell, mounted on the hitch hook of a tool carrier, towed by the tractor. Moreover, in order to test the usefulness of the system with different types of linkage tractor-implement, two other load cells were mounted, respectively, on the top link and the right point of the three-point hitch of the tool carrier. A portable computer, by means of a Virtual Instrument, developed in LabVIEW environment, acquires the signals of the load cells and of a DGPS mobile receiver.
The results of the first tests, carried out in a field in inland Sicily, showed that: the system is able to log data with a sampling frequency adjustable from 1 to 10 Hz; it is able to accurately measure and collect in real-time a large amount of data, which can be easily processed by means of a data sheet, a GIS or another software usable for measuring the within-field spatial variability of soil physical-mechanical parameters; the absolute value of the force measured on the hitch hook of the tool carrier is proportionally correlated to that measured on any point of the three-point hitch of the same one.

Key words: penetrometer; soil compaction; spatial variability; precision agriculture
Abbreviations: American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE); Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS); Global Positioning System (GPS); National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA); GroƟ Gemeinschafts Antennenanlage (GGA); Geographic Information System (GIS)

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