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Enlightening Research

Electrical resistivity in precision cranberry farming

Low ER indicates low cranberry yieldOne of the most important issues in precision agriculture is to develop site specific principles of crop management based on variability of soil and hydrological properties. Accessing spatial variability of soil properties often require high-density and repetitious sampling, which is costly, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. One of the challenges facing the adoption of precision agriculture technology is the identification of productivity-related variability of soil properties accurately and cost-effectively.

The application of the geophysical methods of electrical resistivity makes it possible to define areas of electrically contrasting soils, which have distinct properties and, therefore, should be used in agriculture in different ways. Electrical resistivity is a composite characteristic of soils, which generally related to soil texture, stone, salt, and humus contents, and arrangement of the genetic soil horizons. This is the complex of the factors, which directly influence yield of the most of the crops. The advantage of measuring electrical resistivity is that it can be measured directly in the field without actual taking of soil samples and analyzing them in the laboratory. Thus, implication of the electrical resistivity techniques of soil characterization can tremendously decreases time and labor, required to delineate management zones within the fields.

improving drainage on cranberry bedsFigure above on the right shows that lower soil electrical resistivity is generally corresponds to the decrease in cranberry yield. The data were obtained at 216 sampling locations with LandMapper ERM-01 and interpolated into the map with commercial software, such as ArcView (ESRI, Inc.) and GS+ (Gamma Design Software, Inc.). Low electrical resistivity outlines the low-lying areas within the field with reduced conditions (toxic iron Fe+2) and prone to Phytophthora root rot disease, which caused decrease in cranberry yield. Remediations including removing clogged drainage pipes, digging extra trenches and re-filling them with coarse gravel to improve drainage.

Download this page as PDF flyer: Applications of LandMapper ® ERM-01 in precision farming

Registered users can access 6 related attachements, including our proceeding paper:

LandMapper ERM-01: electrical resistivity mapping device for precision horticulture (2004)


Chatsworth, NJ 39° 49' 3" N, 74° 32' 7.0008" W
Puerto Varas 41° 19' 58.6704" S, 72° 58' 55.8408" W

Excellent post, I had to do

Excellent post, I had to do the same in my PhD, which partly led to the research I do now. I really think that most people just press the button in RES2DINV and plot (and overinterpret) the result. At least that's the impression you get from looking at conference posters. But just looking a bit into the parameters gives you valuable information on reliability of your inversion, and there's really options that can help interpretation.

Doa, I agree with you 100%.

Doa, I agree with you 100%. RES2DINV software is very easy to use, and it does output "pretty" pictures, in much the same way as common GIS software output pretty maps everybody so excited to look on... But very few people look at actual "raw" resistivity data before making inversion or engage in real spatial analysis; and then blame equipment or software for not so great results. User has to always remember - garbage in, garbage out rule...

Larisa Golovko (Pozdnyakova), Ph.D. - President of Landviser, LLC

nice overview of EC methods

nice overview of EC methods to measure soil properties in this paper: Samouëlian, A., I. Cousin, A. Tabbagh, A. Bruand, and G. Richard. “Electrical Resistivity Survey in Soil Science: a Review.” Soil and Tillage Research 83, no. 2 (September 2005): 173–193.

More details on how to go

More details on how to go about EC mapping for different soils/crops will be much appreciated...

Larisa Golovko (Pozdnyakova), Ph.D. - President of Landviser, LLC


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