Spring is right around the corner and this year I am determined to start my very own garden plot. One of the keys to a good garden is having the right soil, but how do we know what to look for in a soil compound and what methods of soil analysis work best? There are several different methods that provide important information to both amateur gardeners and industrial farmers alike. General methods of soil analysis can vary, but NIR (near-infrared) spectroscopy is an ideal method for accurate analysis of multiple soil content properties and can be implemented both rapidly and inexpensively.
The benefits of near-infrared spectroscopy
Many methods of soil analysis require complex and time-consuming methods that alter soil composition and can be very costly. However, near-infrared spectroscopy offers a better alternative, and can provide a quick and reliable analysis of soil quality which can easily be applied to land use and farming industries.
There are several methods of analysis that can be obtained through near-infrared spectroscopy, which include both chemical and physical properties. Chemical properties can be quantified by specific reading and variation in spectral data to determine specific components of the soil content. Physical evaluation can also be obtained through near-infrared spectroscopy by measuring the structural values of a sample with light reflectance and absorption of particles and voids within the sample materials to obtain information such as moisture content. This data is essential for the proper evaluation of soil quality for various agricultural uses.
Spectral methods of soil analysis can also detect unwanted elements in soil content that may affect the safety and usability of the soil materials. In fact, NIR spectroscopy is one of the methods of soil analysis that is recognized by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) for monitoring fertilizer and herbicide application rates to ensure proper use and safety of these soil addendums. These methods of soil analysis are also highly useful for organic farmers who strive to meet strict the guidelines, standards, and regulations also set forth by the USDA.
Soil samples and spectral analysis
When it comes to methods of soil analysis, NIR spectrophotometry is a beneficial option because it allows for a detail analysis of soil properties using only a small undisturbed core sample. These core samples require only a small section of surface material, which then provides valuable information about the soil quality.
Compared to other methods of soil analysis, spectrophotometers have the ability to predict diverse soil properties both rapidly and easily. Based on near-infrared absorption values, light can be measured according to specific molecular properties, allowing for analysis of various soil materials simultaneously.
Options in NIR Spectrophotometers
NIR spectrophotometric technology today has many various applications. Advancements in technology have allowed for variations in instrumentation in order to meet specific purposes, which are based on certain design elements and geometric principles. HunterLab offers many instrumentation choices designed for a variety of agricultural and industrial purposes. Our equipment that is highly durable, portable, and available at an affordable price. Our expert staff is committed to helping you find a product designed specifically to meet your needs. Contact HunterLab today to learn more.
Mr. Philips has spent the last 30 years in product development and management, technical sales, marketing, and business development in several industries. Today, he is the global market development manager for HunterLab, focused on understanding customer needs, providing appropriate solutions and education, and helping to solve customer color challenges across these industries and cultures.