Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Vol. 50(6): 1927-1935

ISSN 0001-2351


2007 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers


Knowledge of the spatial variation of soil attributes is critical for precision agriculture. On‐the‐go soil sensors have been able to provide relatively high mapping density while assessing this variation. A new ion‐selective electrode (ISE) based approach was developed and tested for simultaneous mapping of soil pH, residual nitrate (NO3 -), and soluble potassium (K+) contents. In this article, results of laboratory experiments investigating the effects of key measurement factors on ISE performance are presented. In addition to four different soils, these factors included: soil/water ratio (SWR), quality of water used for electrode rinsing (QWR) and for ion extraction (QWE), presence of ionic strength adjuster (ISA), and solution agitation (stirring). After the targeted ion activity presented by different soils, SWR was the second most influential factor causing increased measurement variance, while the influence of QWE was only significant for pH measurements. Based on this study, the following measurement parameters were recommended: agitated purified water extraction without ISA, addition of a fixed amount of water (preferably 1:1 soil/water ratio), and use of regular (tap) water for electrode rinsing.