Artificial neural networks in the prediction of soil chemical attributes using apparent electrical conductivity

  • Samuel A. Silva Federal University of Espírito Santo, Dept. Rural Engineering, Alegre, Espírito Santo
  • Julião S. S. Lima Federal University of Espírito Santo, Dept. Rural Engineering, Alegre, Espírito Santo
  • Daniel M. Queiroz Federal University of Viçosa, Dept. Agricultural Engineering, Viçosa, Minas Gerais,
  • Arlicélio Q. Paiva State University of Santa Cruz, Post Graduation in Plant Production, Ilhéus, Bahia
  • Caique C. Medauar Federal University of Espírito Santo, Dept. Rural Engineering, Alegre, Espírito Santo
  • Railton O. Santos State University of Santa Cruz, Post Graduation in Plant Production, Ilhéus, Bahia
Keywords: precision agriculture, computational intelligence, remote sensing, predictive models, digital soil mapping


Aim of study: To use artificial neural networks (ANN) to predict the values and spatial distribution of soil chemical attributes from apparent soil electrical conductivity (ECa) and soil clay contents.

Area of study: The study was carried out in an area of 1.2-ha cultivated with cocoa, located in the state of Bahia, Brazil.

Material and methods: Data collections were performed on a sampling grid containing 120 points. Soil samples were collected to determine the attributes: clay, silt, sand, P, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, S, pH, H+Al, SB, CTC, V, OM and P-rem. ECa was measured using the electrical resistivity method in three different periods related to soil sampling: 60 days before (60ECa), 30 days before (30ECa) and when collecting soil samples (0ECa). For the prediction of chemical and physical-chemical attributes of the soil, models based on ANN were used. As input variables, the ECa and the clay contents were used. The quality of ANN predictions was determined using different statistical indicators. Thematic maps were constructed for the attributes determined in the laboratory and those predicted by the ANNs and the values were grouped using the fuzzy k-means algorithm. The agreement between classes was performed using the kappa coefficient.

Main results: Only P and K+ attributes correlated with all ANN input variables. ECa and clay contents in the soil proved to be good variables for predicting soil attributes.

Research highlights: The best results in the prediction process of the P and K+ attributes were obtained with the combination of ECa and the clay content.


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How to Cite
SilvaS. A., LimaJ. S. S., QueirozD. M., PaivaA. Q., MedauarC. C., & SantosR. O. (2021). Artificial neural networks in the prediction of soil chemical attributes using apparent electrical conductivity. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 19(3), e0208.
Agricultural engineering