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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGICALLY-SOUND PEST, WATER AND SOIL MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS CROPPING SYSTEMS

Location: Agricultural Systems Research Unit

Title: Spectral estimates of crop residue cover and density for standing and flat wheat stubble

Authors
item Aguilar, Jonathan
item Evans, Robert
item Vigil, Merle
item Daughtry, Craig

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 2011
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/57084
Citation: Aguilar, J.P., Evans, R.G., Vigil, M.F., Daughtry, C.S. 2012. Spectral estimates of crop residue cover and density for standing and flat wheat stubble. Agronomy Journal. 104:271-279.

Interpretive Summary: The use of remote sensing technology provides a fast, objective, and efficient tool for measuring and managing agricultural resources, including crop residue. The challenge is not only distinguishing the crop residue from the soil but also effectively providing correct estimates across a variety of landscapes. The objective of this study is to assess a select Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and hyperspectral-based indices in estimating crop residue cover and amount for both standing and laid flat stubble, and between two winter wheat harvest managements (i.e. stripper-header and conventional header) and fallow following proso-millet plots located in Colorado. Additional samples were also collected in eastern Montana, Oregon, and Washington states. The authors found that the relative position of crop residues affected the values of some remote sensing indices more than harvest management. Geographical location did not seem to influence the results of the indices. There was not enough evidence to support the use of these indices to accurately estimate the amount of residue. Hyperspectral data may deliver better estimates, but in its absence, the use of two or more other datasets might improve the estimation of residue cover. This information will be useful in data analysis and in planning data acquisition programs for crop residue, which are essentially nonexistent at present.

Technical Abstract: Crop residue is important for erosion control, soil water storage, filling gaps in various agroecosystem-based modeling, and sink for atmospheric carbon. The use of remote sensing technology provides a fast, objective, and efficient tool for measuring and managing this resource. The challenge is to distinguish the crop residue from the soil and effectively estimate the residue cover across a variety of landscapes. The objective of this study is to assess a select Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and hyperspectral-based indices in estimating crop residue cover and amount for bothstanding and laid flat, and between two winter wheat harvest managements (i.e. stripper-header and conventional header) and fallow following proso-millet plots. The primary plots were located in Colorado with additional plots in eastern Montana, Oregon, and Washington states. Data collected include hyperspectral scans, crop residue amount (by weight) and residue cover (by photo-grid). Mean analyses, correlation tests, and spectral signature comparison show that the relative position of the crop residues affected the values of some remote sensing indices more than harvest management. Geographical location did not seem to influence the results. There was not enough evidence to support the use of these indices to accurately estimate the amount of residue. Hyperspectral data may deliver better estimates, but in its absence, the use of two or more of these datasets might improve the estimation of residue cover. This information will be useful in guiding analysis of remotely sensed data and in planning data acquisition programs for crop residue, which are essentially nonexistent at present.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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