Soil Moisture Deficit as a predictor of the trend in soil water status of grass fields

A. Kerebel, R. Cassidy, P. Jordan, N. M. Holden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Nutrient loss from agricultural land following organic fertilizer spreading can lead to eutrophication and poor water quality. The risk of pollution is partly related to the soil water status during and after spreading. In response to these issues, a decision support system (DSS) for nutrient management has been developed to predict when soil and weather conditions are suitable for slurry spreading. At the core of the DSS, the Hybrid Soil Moisture Deficit (HSMD) model estimates soil water status relative to field capacity (FC) for three soil classes (well, moderately and poorly drained) and has potential to predict the occurrence of a transport vector when the soil is wetter than FC. Three years of field observation of volumetric water content was used to validate HSMD model predictions of water status and to ensure correct use and interpretation of the drainage classes. Point HSMD model predictions were validated with respect to the temporal and spatial variations in volumetric water content and soil strength properties. It was found that the HSMD model predictions were well related to topsoil water content through time, but a new class intermediate between poor and moderate, perhaps 'imperfectly drained', was needed. With correct allocations of a field into a drainage class, the HSMD model predictions reflect field scale trends in water status and therefore the model is suitable for use at the core of a DSS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-431
JournalSoil Use and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2013


  • Soil moisture deficit
  • volumetric water content
  • soil strength
  • drainage
  • decision support system


Dive into the research topics of 'Soil Moisture Deficit as a predictor of the trend in soil water status of grass fields'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this