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Can soil moisture instruments be used to estimate soil bulk density

Adamolekun, O., Akinremi, O., Moulin, A. Butler, R., Fitzmaurice, J. 2018. Can soil moisture instruments be used to estimate soil bulk density? Poster. Manitoba Soil Science Society Annual Meeting, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Feb 1, 2018


Soil bulk density influences seedling emergence, root growth and soil permeability. It is also used to calculate mass balance of soil properties and volumetric water content. Bulk density is difficult to determine, particularly at depth. In this study, several soil moisture sensors were assessed relative to gravimetric methods. Fifty soil cores were sampled with a Giddings hydraulic punch to a depth of 90 cm. The Theta probe and Hydra probe (POGO) were used to determine volumetric moisture content at depth intervals of 15 cm in the laboratory. Soil was sub-sampled for oven drying to determine gravimetric moisture content and bulk density. Bulk density values were estimated for each sensor by dividing the sensors volumetric moisture content by the gravimetric moisture content. The coefficient of determination (R2) used to assess the statistical significance of the correlation between the sensors and the laboratory values for bulk density.

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