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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluation of Spectral Indices for Estimating Crop Residue Cover and Soil Carbon)

item Serbin, Guy
item Daughtry, Craig
item Hunt, Earle - Ray
item Doraiswamy, Paul
item Brown, David

Submitted to: BARC Poster Day
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/30/2007
Publication Date: 5/1/2007
Citation: Serbin, G., Daughtry, C.S., Hunt, E.R., Doraiswamy, P.C., Brown, D.J. Evaluation of spectral indices for estimating crop residue cover and soil carbon [abstract]. Abs. 37, BARC Poster Day.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Long term use of conservation tillage practices can lead to increased soil organic carbon (SOC) compared to intensively tilled soils. However, monitoring soil tillage intensity over large areas for assessing changes in SOC is difficult. Remote sensing can potentially estimate crop residue cover, an important indicator of soil tillage intensity, for modeling soil carbon. Aerial hyperspectral images were acquired over agricultural fields in Indiana in May 2006. Crop residue cover was measured in corn and soybean fields using line-point transects, and was linearly related to the Cellulose Absorption Index (CAI) for the whole scene (r2 = 0.71). By combining information on previous season’s crop classification (USDA-NASS 2005 crop data layer product) with crop residue cover after planting in 2006, an inventory of soil tillage intensity by previous crop type was generated for the whole scene (5 km x 23.5 km). As CAI values for bare soils were variable, our next objective was to evaluate the effects of a wide range of soil types on several spectral crop residue indices, and to use these spectral indices for measuring crop residue cover in agricultural fields using aerial hyperspectral images. Reflectance spectra acquired by Brown et al. (2006, Geoderma 132 pp. 273-290) of over 3,700 soils from the US National Soil Survey Center- Soil Survey Laboratory database and field samples from Fulton Co., Indiana were analyzed. Mean CAI values for soils from Brown et al. (2006) were -2.5±1.0 for surface soil samples and -3.5±1.5 for all samples analyzed; Fulton Co. soils ranged from CAI = -0.9 to CAI = 0.1, with values increasing with SOC content. In contrast, values for dry crop residues were varied from CAI = 3 to CAI = 6.2, for soybean and corn residues, respectively, but varied depending upon condition. Residue cover estimates were found to be most accurate when accounting for soil and residue spectral properties.

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
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