DOI: 10.2136/sssaj1994.03615995005800050033x ISSN:

Field‐Scale Variability of Soil Properties in Central Iowa Soils

C. A. Cambardella, T. B. Moorman, J. M. Novak, T. B. Parkin, D. L. Karlen, R. F. Turco, A. E. Konopka
  • Soil Science


Spatial distributions of soil properties at the field and watershed scale may affect yield potential, hydrologic responses, and transport of herbicides and NO3 to surface or groundwater. Our research describes field‐scale distributions and spatial trends for 28 different soil parameters at two sites within a watershed in central Iowa. Two of 27 parameters measured at one site and 10 of 14 parameters measured at the second site were normally distributed. Spatial variability was investigated using semivariograms and the ratio of nugget to total semivariance, expressed as a percentage, was used to classify spatial dependence. A ratio of <25% indicated strong spatial dependence, between 25 and 75% indicated moderate spatial dependence, and >75% indicated weak spatial dependence. Twelve parameters at Site one, including organic C, total N, pH, and macroaggregation, and four parameters at Site two, including organic C and total N, were strongly spatially dependent. Six parameters at Site one, including biomass C and N, bulk density, and denitrification, and 9 parameters at Site two, including biomass C and N and bulk density, were moderately spatially dependent. Three parameters at Site one, including NO3 N and ergosterol, and one parameter at Site two, mineral‐associated N, were weakly spatially dependent. Distributions of exchangeable Ca and Mg at Site one were not spatially dependent. Spatial distributions for some soil properties were similar for both field sites. We will be able to exploit these similarities to improve our ability to extrapolate information taken from one field to other fields within similar landscapes.

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