This is potentially the most time-consuming and expensive step in producing soil initial information content, and thus warrants careful planning and costing. Our advice is to:
  • Use power analyses to determine cost/accuracy of your sampling designs and pick one of several potential sampling plans that reflect the available budget.
  • Produce a map of the proposed sampling locations … and stick to those.
  • Differentiate core data versus optional data. This applies equally to crop yield, yield response and yield monitoring data. It is absolutely essential that all observations and measurements are georeferenced and time stamped. • Identify how to collect and reserve data for prediction model validation (step 5).
  • Identify and select the most appropriate protocols for labeling and tracking physical samples from the field, through lab analyses to databases. We recommend our universally unique soil sample ID protocol here.
  • Select and document standard field operating procedures (FSOP’s), and where possible translate those to GPS and time stamp enabled field data logging apps.
Time: 6–12 months
Fixed cost for survey outfitting: 75-135k USD
Variable cost: 3-6 USD per geopoint location