Atmosphere in the soil-Sensors in precision agriculture (II)

The atmosphere in the soil is of the utmost importance for oxidation processes. Tillage and plant covers are essential. The soil is the support of the plants and the store of water, air and nutrients.

Soil porosity

Depending on the composition of the soil, we will have more or less empty spaces that form porosity .

This porosity can have:

Soil atmosphere
Soil atmosphere. 1-Air pores. 2-pores of water.
  • Macropores : large pores with a large amount of air and that water passes through very easily due to gravity.
  • Micropores : they are tiny pores that have retained water and it is the one that is fundamentally absorbed by plants.

The set of macropores and micropores that the terrain has is called porosity and depends entirely on the composition of the terrain.

The sandy ones have mostly macropores allowing the water to slide easily.

Clay clays basically have micropores and therefore little aeration and high water retention.

The atmosphere on the ground

It is the amount of air that accumulates in the pores. Ideally, the composition of the soil should be air in a proportion greater than 20%.

The air that we find in the ground favors:

  • The breath of the roots.
  • The oxidation-reduction process.
  • The decomposition of organic matter.

Gaseous exchange between the soil and the atmosphere

Soil aeration can be moved by:

  • The action of the wind that can introduce or expel it.
  • The water in the soil displaces the air in the pores from one side to the other.
  • As gases expand or contract due to the effect of temperature. It can be controlled with subsoil temperature probes.
  • The texture of the soil.
  • Root respiration absorbing 0 2 while releasing CO 2 and it passes into the atmosphere.
  • The rains.

Factors influencing the soil atmosphere

  • Texture : if the ground is very waterlogged, there is no place for gases. Measurement with humidity sensors and probes is essential. Aeration is related to macropores, the smaller they are, the more they retain water.
  • Structures : that is, the grouping of clay, sand and silt. The more compact they are, the less they allow air movement.
  • Drainage : ability to remove water.

Atmosphere problems in the soil

Poor soil aeration is caused by:

  • A poor irrigation management or excessive rainfall , water occupies a large part of the pore space.
  • Clay soils that form layers that alter drainage.
  • Superficial crusts of salts that prevent aeration. Therefore, salinity control with conductivity probes is important.
  • The deeper layers have less gas diffusion because the pore space is smaller.

Effects on crops of low subsurface aeration

The negative effects that poor aeration has on the roots of plants are due to both lack of air and excess.

  • Poor aeration causes the roots to be shorter and tend to be shallower in order to be able to oxygenate.
  • High carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) reduces cell permeability. Nutrient absorption is impaired.
  • Very aerated soils cause minerals to oxidize.
  • Waterlogged turn the soil into acid. The amount of iron is also reduced.
Soil atmosphere
Soil atmosphere

Soil temperature

The temperature of the soil influences all physical, chemical and biological processes in the soil. It can be seen altered the growth of the plant, the shoots and even affect the fall of the leaf.

It influences the decomposition of organic matter. Colder ones slow down chemical reactions. On the contrary, in the warmer ones they increase erosion. This reduces the availability of nutrients. In these cases, plant covers can help control these processes.

The subsoil temperature probes are very useful to monitor the root activity of the plant.

How to improve the atmosphere in the soil

There are basically two factors that benefit the soil atmosphere:

  • Drainage through drainage to avoid root suffocation. It can be shallow or deep. In the case of irrigation, it is best to control humidity with probes to avoid flooding.
  • Aggregation and soil tillage . The composition plays an important role.

The aeration capacity directly influences the absorption of oxygen by the roots, the exchange of O 2 with the atmosphere and the health of the root system.

Plantae specialist in controlling the atmosphere in the soil

As we already indicated humidity, soil temperature and conductivity sensors and probes help us to keep the atmosphere in the soil in perfect condition, controlled in real time, avoiding waterlogging and assessing the health of the root system by means of temperature.

The best way to take care of the environment is control. We save water and energy and at the same time the plant has what it needs at all times. Water stress is avoided and in real time the farmer can make the most accurate decisions at each phenological state of its cultivation.


Plantae agro


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