Field Scale Evaluation of Crop Residue Cover Distribution Using Airborne and Satellite Remote Sensing
Fulmer, J. L.
Masters, Mark H.
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Conservation tillage adoption has been associated with sustainable agricultural practices and linked with increased plant available water content in some regions. However, rapid and spatially accurate field scale assessments in the southeastern U.S. are lacking. A major goal of this study was to evaluate satellite and aerial imagery as a rapid and spatially explicit method for delineating crop residue cover as an estimator of conservation tillage adoption within a watershed. In the spring of 2005 and 2006, crop residue cover variability was measured on five farms located within the Southern Coastal Plain. Remotely sensed data were collected subsequent to planting using the aircraft mounted Airborne Data Multi-Spectral Imaging System (2005) and Quickbird satellite (2006). Coincident with each image acquisition, each site was grid sampled (0.20 ha grid) for soil water content, soil organic car-bon content, crop residue carbon and water content, and soil texture. Soil and crop residue were composite sampled within a 1 – m radius of each point. Digital images (1.4m2) were acquired at designated grid points to classify percentages of residue coverage. Ground truth data were used to evaluate the observed error in remotely derived cover estimates. Accurate and rapid estimates of cover at this scale may be used to decrease uncertainties in land use/land cover used to parameterize watershed models that predict water quality and quantity.