Eastern Geographic Science Center
Description of Current Projects
Remote sensing of agricultural crop residue and conservation tillage
Principal Investigator: Dr. W. Dean Hively, U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Geographic Science Center
The Science Issue and Relevance
Crop residue is best measured in springtime, following tillage and planting of the summer crop. There is a brief window of opportunity for remote sensing after the green winter landscape has been transformed by tillage, and before summer crop vegetation covers the soil surface and interferes with the visibility of residue. In the spring of 2015 we worked with an Eastern Shore farmer to measure crop residue shortly after springtime field management was complete. Reflectance from a May 15th Worldview 3 SWIR image showed strong correlation with in-field measurements of percent residue cover on fields with little green vegetation. Results showed capability for mapping crop residue based on characterization of cellulose adsorption with SWIR indices.
Worldview 3 SWIR residue mapping will be used to increase scale and calibrate analysis of Landsat imagery collected on similar dates. On-farm sampling and Worldview 3 imagery collection will be repeated this spring, thus expanding our sampling range to identify when the residue signal becomes obscured by green vegetation.
Key Words: conservation tillage, remote sensing, SWIR, crop residue, Chesapeake Bay
W. Dean Hively, PhD