Implementation of Proximal and Remote Soil Sensing, Data Fusion and Machine Learning to Improve Phosphorus Spatial Prediction for Farms in Ontario, Canada

Abdelkrim Lachgar, David J. Mulla, Viacheslav Adamchuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

One of the challenges in site-specific phosphorus (P) management is the substantial spatial variability in plant available P across fields. To overcome this barrier, emerging sensing, data fusion, and spatial predictive modeling approaches are needed to accurately reveal the spatial heterogeneity of P. Seven spatially variable fields located in Ontario, Canada are clustered into two zones; four fields are located in eastern Ontario and three others are located in western Ontario. This study compares Bayesian Additive Regression Trees (BART), Support Vector Machine regressor (SVM), and Ordinary Kriging (OK), along with novel data fusion concepts, to analyze integrated high-density spatial data layers related to spatial variability in soil available P. Feature selection and interaction detection using BART variable selection and Recursive Feature Elimination (RFE) for SVM were applied to 42 predictors, including soil-vegetation indices derived from PlanetScope multispectral imagery, high-density apparent soil electrical conductivity (ECa), and high-resolution topographic attributes derived from DUALEM-21S and a Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) receiver, respectively. Modeling spatial heterogeneity of soil available P with BART showed higher accuracy than SVM and OK in both zones of this study when trained and tested on ground truth data from clusters of farms. A BART variable selection approach resulted in six auxiliary predictors of soil available P in the eastern zone, while only four predictors were selected to predict P in the western zone. RFE for SVM resulted in models with 15 and 12 auxiliary predictors in the eastern and western Ontario zones. Topographic elevation was the most influential predictor of soil available P in both zones. Compared with the SVM and OK methods, BART exhibited lower average RMSE values for individual fields of 1.86 ppm and 3.58 ppm across the eastern and western Ontario zones, respectively, along with higher R2 values of 0.85 and 0.83, respectively. In contrast, SVM had RMSE values for individual fields in the eastern and western Ontario zones, respectively, averaging 5.04 ppm and 7.51 ppm and R2 values of 0.27 and 0.43. RMSE values for soil available P in individual fields across the eastern and western Ontario zones averaged 4.77 ppm and 7.81 ppm, respectively, with the OK method, while R2 values averaged 0.19 and 0.44. The selection of suitable auxiliary predictors and data fusion, combined with BART spatial machine learning algorithms, have potential to be a useful tool to accurately estimate spatial patterns in soil available P for agricultural fields in Ontario, Canada.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number693
JournalAgronomy
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.

Keywords

  • Bayesian additive regression trees
  • ordinary kriging
  • spatial variability
  • support vector machine regressor

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