Quantitative measurement of sod strength has been reported previously in the literature and is typically related to the force required to shear a strip of sod into two separate pieces. Several devices have been designed to quantitatively measure sod shear strength (Burns and Futral, 1980; Goatley et al., 1997; Parish, 1995; Rieke et al., 1968; Sharpe et al., 1989; Shildrick, 1982; Sorochan and Rogers, 2000). These devices, or modifications based on them, have constituted the majority of studies where sod strength has been reported (e.g., Agnew and Christians, 1992; Cutulle et al., 2013; Giese et al., 1997; Hall, 1980; Hall et al., 1985; Hall and Bingham, 1993; Hurley and Skogley, 1975; Li et al., 2011; McCalla et al., 2008; Rieke and Beard, 1969; Ruemmele et al., 2001; Shearman et al., 2001; Taylor and Schmidt, 1980).
Although a quantitative measurement of sod strength can be made and related to specific treatment effects (e.g., N rate, growth regulators, species, and cultivar comparisons, etc.), there is limited information as to what constitutes an acceptable to preferred value or range of sod strength measurements. Before shear-strength assessment can become a routine tool for sod management, benchmark values need to be established for these devices that indicate when sod is at or within an acceptable to optimum shear strength range for harvesting and handling. Once these values or ranges are established, producers may be more willing to consider devices that quantitatively measure sod strength, and use them to guide their management practices in achieving the optimum strength of sod at harvest. In addition, having an objective measure of shear strength would give a higher degree of criteria on judging acceptability to meet a contract or to resolve contract disputes about sod quality.
The objective of this research was to determine if any relationship exists between subjective producer assessment of sod strength and quantitative measurements of strength obtained from a device that records peak shear force. If a relationship could be obtained, then a further objective was to establish ranges of quantitative measurements that matched producer subjective assessments of acceptable to preferred sod strength for harvesting and handling.
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