Quality of the PRS™-Probe
What makes the PRS™-probe a desirable research tool?
It accounts for temporal variations in nutrient availability due to changing soils' physical, chemical, and biological properties.
Unlike conventional soil extractions, in situ burials of PRS™-probes integrate all of the principal edaphic factors affecting nutrient uptake by plants (ie., soil moisture and temperature, mineralization and immobilization, buffer power dissolution, ion diffusion from greater distances free ion activities, etc.) regardless of soil type. Consequently, PRS™-probes are an effective surrogate for bio-mimicking nutrient absorption by plant roots as they remove soil nutrients through ion exchange; therefore, providing the most reliable index of nutrient bioavailability.
In addition, quantifying the effects of changing soil physical properties due to disturbances, such as compaction, on nutrient supply is difficult using traditional chemical extractions, because the sample preparation prior to analysis destroys the soil structure. Conversely with the PRS™-probes, the effects of compaction (i.e., altered pore size distribution, water flux, and aeration) on nutrient availability are quantifiable and comparable to undisturbed soil.
It has the ability to make in situ measurements of all nutrient ions simultaneously.
This represents a powerful capability to see the entire 'nutrient picture', which may elucidate certain unexpected nutrient deficiencies. The data generating ability (i.e., all nutrient ions simultaneously) of the PRS™-probes is unequalled. Western Ag Innovations routinely analyzes the PRS™-probes for NH4+, NO3-, P, K, S, Ca, Mg, Mn, Al, Fe, Cu, Zn, B, Cd, and Pb; however, analyses of other elements or contaminants are readily available upon request. Not only are static or 'point in time' assessments using traditional chemical extractions inferior to a dynamic nutrient flux measurement using PRS™-probes, but also there is the added sample preparation time and analyses expense involved in performing multiple soil extractions for different nutrients.
It is well suited for use in long-term soil productivity research (LTSP) and long-term ecological research (LTER) networks across vast geographical areas, regardless of soil type.
Often it is difficult assimilating nutrient data from such studies, because "standard" soil tests do not work as effectively on all soil types. Depending on the variability of soil types, making true comparisons among LTSP and LTER sites may be difficult, due to inconsistencies among the chemical extractions used for a given nutrient (i.e. more than 100 different extractions for soil P alone). For these long-term studies, therefore, it is prudent to use a monitoring tool having the precision across all soil types. Using the PRS™-probes supports greater comparability of data among LTSP and LTER sites, thereby allowing for appropriate inferences to be made regarding the sustainability of current practices, and supporting more effective management decisions.
Read more about the PRS™-probe technology.