Upland soil erosion control is essential for sustainable agricultural production systems because erosion affects soil properties progressively over time and generally results in decreased soil quality and reduced resistance of agricultural systems to stresses. Addressing both on-site processes and effects at the field and hill slope scale, and off-site impacts at the larger watershed scale are of interest. Key factors in understanding these processes are measurement and characterization of the mechanical and structural properties of soils. Most current techniques are not easily adaptable for in-situ measurements, and are often prohibitively expensive.
The goal of this research is to provide alternative methods for characterization of the soil profile, mechanical and hydraulic properties, surface roughness, and soil crusting. The associated system will allow for rapid, portable, in-situ measurements of the spatial and temporal variability of soil parameters to assist soil scientist solve problems facing the agricultural sector.