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Mapping trace element deficiency by cokriging from regional geochemical soil data: a case study on cobalt for grazing sheep in Ireland

Lark, R.M.; Ander, E.L.; Cave, M.R.; Knights, K.V.; Glennon, M.M.; Scanlon, R.P.. 2014 Mapping trace element deficiency by cokriging from regional geochemical soil data: a case study on cobalt for grazing sheep in Ireland. Geoderma, 226-227. 64-78. 10.1016/j.geoderma.2014.03.002

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Abstract/Summary

Deficiency or excess of certain trace elements in the soil causes problems for agriculture, including disorders of grazing ruminants. Geostatistics has been used to map the probability that trace element concentrations in soil exceed or fall below particular thresholds. However, deficiency or toxicity problems may depend on interactions between elements in the soil. Here we show how cokriging from a regional survey of topsoil geochemistry can be used to map the risk of deficiency, and the best management intervention, where both depend on the interaction between two elements. Our case study is on cobalt. Farmers and their advisors in Ireland use index values for the concentration of total soil cobalt and manganese to identify where grazing sheep are at risk of cobalt deficiency. We use topsoil data from a regional geochemical survey across six counties of Ireland to form local cokriging predictions of cobalt and manganese concentrations with an attendant distribution which reflects the joint uncertainty of these predictions. From this distribution we then compute conditional probabilities for different combinations of cobalt and manganese index values, and so for the corresponding inferred risk to sheep of cobalt deficiency and the appropriateness of different management interventions. We represent these results as maps, using a verbal scale for the communication of uncertain information. This scale is based on one used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, modified in light of some recent research on its effectiveness.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.geoderma.2014.03.002
ISSN: 00167061
Date made live: 04 Apr 2014 14:24 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/506984

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