Assessing the Potential for Ion Selective Electrodes and Dual Wavelength UV Spectroscopy as a Rapid on-Farm Measurement of Soil Nitrate Concentration
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 3âˆ’ ) ion selective electrodes (ISEs) and dual wavelength UV spectroscopy as part of a rapid soil NO 3âˆ’ 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 3âˆ’ concentrations (<10 mg NO 3âˆ’ L âˆ’1 ). We also show that NO 3âˆ’ 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 3âˆ’ 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 3âˆ’ measurements.
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- World Bank & Food and Agriculture Organization & International Fund for Agricultural Development, 2009. "Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6603, December.
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