Manage field variability to improve crop uniformity

Phase 1

EC Map


Identifying and validating the field soil distribution is the goal in this initial phase. Using a combination of Geophysical Mapping and Multi-Spectral Imaging, a representative variability of the soil is identified. These zones are then sampled in Phase 2.

Phase 2





After using the areas identified in Phase 1, we collect soil samples for physical and soil chemistry analysis of the 0-18 inch surface sample. This will give us the needed characteristics and physical properties to proceed with a recommendation. H2O Optimizer identifies soil profile horizons through deep core sampling ranging from a depth range of 0-15 feet, typically sampling to six feet.

0-18 inch samples are sent to the lab for analysis that includes tests for saturated paste (CEC), 16 major and minor nutrients, pH, EC, SAR, chlorides, and lime. The lab results are run through our Nutrient CALC program to provide precise requirements for all nutrients and amendments required for the various soil profiles identified. Soil penetration problems are addressed through surface soil sample results. Infiltration issues are identified in Phase 3.

Using data models and algorithms, crop specific nutrient requirements are calculated based on the soil profiles lab results. Based on pH, EC, bicarbonates, nutrient antagonism and deficiencies, water and soil amendment recommendations are also created by each zone identified during Phase 1.

Ag suitability of your water source is critical to understanding the plant-soil-water relationship. Lab results from your water sources are run through data models to calculate specific rates of calcium (gypsum) and or the requirement to acidify or buffer the water for improved nutrient uptake, water penetration, and infiltration as part of Phase 2.

Phase 3

0-18" Sampling

18-30" Sampling

30-42" Sampling

42-54" Sampling

54-66" Sampling

Using a Power Probe, each zone is identified in Phase 1 samples, cores are separated into five soil depths (0-18”, 18-30”, 30-42”, 42-54” and 54-66”), and include testing to identify texture (Particle Size Analysis), water holding capacity (plant available water), infiltration rates (inches), porosity and bulk density.

Water tables and tillage requirements are also determined through deep core sampling. Our Power Probe can collect cores to a depth of 15 feet allowing H2O Optimizer to precisely identify perched water and or the potential for perched water of the areas identified in Phase 1.

Soil cores collected with the Power Probe provides an undisturbed sample as deep as 15 feet. The cores identify where soil-textural and/or chemistry-related water penetration and infiltration issues exist.

Combining samples from Phase 2 and 3 we can calculate the benefits and potential issues related to the slip plow and or ripping the soil to blend a variable soil profile into a uniform potential root zone.

The best sensor locations to properly represent the area and initial calibration factors are determined in Phase 3. This assures all sensor data is relevant, calibrated to the soil profile with targets established based on Phase 1-3, and ultimately creates the roadmap for our Irrigation System Design Layout.

Depending on the state of the development and Phase 1-3 results, new plantings or retrofitting layouts are developed. These systems are referred to as a Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) or Same Set Plan.

In new developments, we design a polygon or block Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) system

  • A polygon VRI matches exactly the zones of variability identified in Phase 2.
  • A block VRI groups blocks with similar soil profiles into similar set sizes for irrigation.

In existing plantings, we use the data collected in Phase 1-3 to develop a layout that adds submains and/or valving to improve distribution uniformity of irrigation applications (frequency and duration) by soil profile identified. In most cases we can optimize the system through valve automation, minor retrofits ROI is one to two years based on water and utility savings.