Research

Evaluation of spatial heterogeneity for the design and layout of experimental sites

Abstract

The natural spatial variability of soil properties adversely affects the accuracy and efficiency of agricultural experiments because error estimates based on observations from replicates of the same treatment are often inflated due to soil heterogeneity. In such situations, the treatment effects cannot be assessed accurately and the results may appear to lack statistical significance.

Description

The objective of this study was to evaluate the heterogeneity of the selected field to identify the most uniform area to establish the traffic and tillage experimental plots through the application of geo-statistical interpolation methods to soil apparent electromagnetic conductivity (ECa) measurements and topographic attributes and statistical analysis to describe field sub-division variability. The initial assumption to identify the variability in soil properties was made by historical division of the field into three parts which indicate significant differences between soil properties. Geo-referenced ECa and elevation data were divided into three sets of data and processed by using ANOVA. The spatial variability of ECa and elevation were also analysed and interpreted by using interpolation method and by comparing of the field sub-division variogram properties. The consideration of the distribution of the set of values indicated the area with the lowest variability and therefore the establishment of an experimental study in this section was recommended.

Funding Body

Claas Stiftung

Lead Organisation

Harper Adams University

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