One of the factors for obtaining a good harvest in the agricultural industry is a high-quality agrochemical soil analysis, for which manual and automatic samplers are used. Manufactured taking into account the characteristics of soils and modern technology, they are characterized by high accuracy of soil selection, good performance and ease of use.
Hand samplers: pros and cons
The main purpose of hand pickers is to take soil to study the composition and quality characteristics using human physical strength. These tools, equipped with a special drill, are available in various options: for picking up clay, coarse-grained, combined, stony and sandy soils.
The advantage of manual sampling devices is the simplicity of the principle of operation - by pressing on the handle, the operator enters the working area of the tool into the ground, then turns it and pulls it out to unload the soil sample. For work, you do not need to involve equipment, while the drill performs its tasks well at a shallow depth of homogeneous soil.
But, in agriculture of large-scale production, the use of hand tools is not a rational solution, since the requirements of the modern agricultural market require accelerated methods, accurate sampling of land at different depths and the required number of samples. These tasks are fully handled by automatic samplers, minimizing human error and providing more accurate readings.
Automatic samplers: key features and how they work
Soil automatic samplers are attachments that can be aggregated on pickups of any class, UAZ and other vehicles of domestic or imported production, as well as a tractor, ATV, trailer.
To obtain soil samples, two types of automatic samplers are used:
- Drilling type - with a drill in the form of a drill rotating during immersion. They are capable of taking soil at a depth of 30 cm, extracting it within 3-5 seconds.
- Impact type - with a drill driven into the soil by means of a shock hydraulic station, and then rotated 100 degrees. They can work with separation and mixing of layers, sinking to a depth of 75 cm.
Despite some difference in design, both options have a similar principle of operation. During operation, the hollow drill plunges into the soil, simultaneously picking it up, and during the return movement, special scrapers shake off the soil into one of the metal boxes. The collected soil is poured manually into labeled containers.
A separate type is considered high-speed samplers capable of taking soil samples at a depth of 30 cm directly while driving at a speed of 3 to 12 km / h. During the movement of the equipment, the probe, located on the swing arm, is retracted forward, extended and enters the ground, gaining soil. At the moment the bracket takes a vertical position, the probe is retracted, emptying into special funnels, and returns to a new cycle of soil sampling.
Depending on the version, the automatic samplers are driven by their own power unit, electrically powered through the onboard transport circuit, driven by the engine pump, or by a combination of a hydraulic pump and an electric motor. The unit is controlled by a control unit installed in the operator's cab, which can control the sampling depth, sampling interval and operating pressure in the system.
You can learn more about the principle of operation of samplers by watching the recording of our webinar:
Specifics of installing samplers on various vehicles
Automatic samplers are mounted as attachments on the rear of the vehicle's own frame. Also, the units can be installed on a modified structure in the form of a retractable or folding frame, which is most often used on domestic UAZ-390995 vehicles. The most popular is the assembly of the unit on a pickup truck, carried out by one or two operators using loading equipment. After installation, it is fixed to the underbody with bolts and special plates. The design of the sampler allows you to register the equipped car with the traffic police, since the frame protrudes no more than 1 meter, and also allows you to hang a license plate and parking lights. The installation can also work on a trailer, but in this case, certification in US is required.
Soil sampling software
The use of samplers is carried out with its own software "Geoplan", the task of which is to create an accurate and detailed plan of the route of sampling. The program is easy to use and allows you to download ready-made electronic field maps. If they are not present, then the contours of the field are first measured and a soil sampling plan is built on the basis of the data.
For detailed analysis and compilation of agrochemical maps, you can use the Trimble Farmer Pro program. It is a cloud-based solution that comes with a mobile app and a ready-made annual subscription. Farmer Pro's capabilities allow you to process not only data concerning the route and sampling points, but also a wide range of other information about technological operations carried out during the entire period of growing various crops.
The software can be installed on a protected Panasonic laptop with Windows 7 and higher operating system. If the laptop does not have a built-in GPS receiver, you can connect an external GPS receiver.
Soil sampling planning and agrochemical mapping
A short window is reserved for sampling. As a rule, it appears after harvesting before the snow falls. For impact-type samplers, even frost is not a hindrance, since the drills are capable of piercing the soil to a set depth even in frost down to -40 ° C.
The planning of soil sampling is carried out according to a specific algorithm:
- Drawing a grid with - editing the size of grid cells, shifting and rotating it relative to the field outline
- Adaptation of the created grid to the real size of the field.
- Clipping the mesh along the marked contours of the field.
- Saving the resulting map with all parameters in a separate file.
- Determination and plotting of the route of movement of equipment with precise definition of sampling points and their binding to coordinates.
Creating tasks for sampling in the cloud service "Field History"
Using agrochemical data in services for managing an agricultural enterprise
Visualization of soil maps in the "Field History" cloud service. Sulfur content in the soil.
The data obtained through the use of an automatic sampler allows solving a number of problems that are important for the economic efficiency of agricultural enterprises and farms:
- create detailed soil maps of fields for systematic tracking of their conditions and development of a specific technological strategy;
- apply fertilizers differentially;
- control the quality and biochemical characteristics of the soil;
- reduce the cost of maintaining fields while increasing yields and profits;
- ensure uniformity of crop growth.