Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 44 (2004) 71–91. Copyright © 2004 Elsevier B.V. Used by permission.


The basic objectives of site-specific management of agricultural inputs are to increase profitability of crop production, improve product quality, and protect the environment. Information about the variability of different soil attributes within a field is essential for the decision-making process. The inability to obtain soil characteristics rapidly and inexpensively remains one of the biggest limitations of precision agriculture. Numerous researchers and manufacturers have attempted to develop on-the-go soil sensors to measure mechanical, physical and chemical soil properties. The sensors have been based on electrical and electromagnetic, optical and radiometric, mechanical, acoustic, pneumatic, and electrochemical measurement concepts. While only electric and electromagnetic sensors are widely used at this time, other technologies presented in this review may also be suitable to improve the quality of soil-related information in the near future.