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Assessing the Potential for Ion Selective Electrodes and Dual Wavelength UV Spectroscopy as a Rapid on-Farm Measurement of Soil Nitrate Concentration

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  • Rory Shaw

    ()
    (School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK)

  • A. Prysor Williams

    ()
    (School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK)

  • Anthony Miller

    ()
    (John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK)

  • Davey L. Jones

    ()
    (School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK)

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    Abstract

    Current fertiliser recommendations for nitrogen are limited in their accuracy and may be improved by the use of simple on-farm soil rapid tests. This paper investigates the potential for using nitrate (NO 3− ) ion selective electrodes (ISEs) and dual wavelength UV spectroscopy as part of a rapid soil NO 3− diagnostic test. Three soil types, representing the major soil types for agriculture in the western UK, were tested. For the three soils, the ISE rapid test procedure gave a near 1:1 response ( r2 = 0.978, 0.968, 0.989) compared to the internationally-approved standard laboratory method. However, the accuracy of the ISE rapid test was reduced at low soil NO 3− concentrations (<10 mg NO 3− L −1 ). We also show that NO 3− analysis of H 2O soil extracts by dual wavelength UV spectroscopy was also highly correlated ( r2 = 0.978, 0.983, 0.991) to the standard laboratory method. We conclude that both ISE and dual wavelength UV spectroscopy have clear potential to be used for the rapid on-farm determination of soil NO 3− concentration. Barriers to use of these field-based assessment tools include, farmer perception of cost-benefit, general attitude to new technologies and the ability to generate useful fertiliser use strategies from soil NO 3− measurements.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Agriculture.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 3 (July)
    Pages: 327-341

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jagris:v:3:y:2013:i:3:p:327-341:d:26847

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    Related research

    Keywords: crop nutrients; fertiliser management; nitrogen use efficiency; soil analysis;

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    1. World Bank & Food and Agriculture Organization & International Fund for Agricultural Development, 2009. "Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6603.
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