Land management database development: methods for delineating management units and estimating crop and residue cover

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Gelder, Brian
Major Professor
Richard M. Cruse
Amy L. Kaleita
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The Department of Agronomy seeks to teach the study of the farm-field, its crops, and its science and management. It originally consisted of three sub-departments to do this: Soils, Farm-Crops, and Agricultural Engineering (which became its own department in 1907). Today, the department teaches crop sciences and breeding, soil sciences, meteorology, agroecology, and biotechnology.

The Department of Agronomy was formed in 1902. From 1917 to 1935 it was known as the Department of Farm Crops and Soils.

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  • Department of Farm Crops and Soils (1917–1935)

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The world's agricultural soil resources continue to degrade due to rates of soil erosion and organic matter oxidation exceeding those found in native systems. This degradation is generally the result of intensive soil tillage, resulting in decreased amounts of soil residue cover, high runoff rates, and decreased soil organic matter. Degradation pressure is likely to increase in the future due to harvesting of plant residues for bioenergy and increased peak intensity of rainstorms due to climate change, increasing soil detachment and transport.;Developing effective solutions to these problems require the use of models to estimate the extent and severity of these impacts across the landscape. Once impacts are known, appropriate management practices can be selected to counteract these effects. However, implementation of these models will require data on land management practices at the field level, a resolution not currently possible with any routinely collected dataset. This requires the development of new methods to efficiently gather a large amount of quality data.;To this end, methodologies were developed for automatically determining management unit boundaries, corresponding crop and residue cover, and estimating surface roughness. Testing was conducted on agricultural fields in Boone, Hamilton, and Story counties in central Iowa with management unit area estimated to within 10% of the mean and management unit centroids located within 30 m on average and 165 m at a maximum. Crop cover was correctly identified better than 95% of the time. Errors were within USGS standard where applicable. Methodologies for determining residue cover were also determined, with an RMSE of 0.08 before green vegetation emergence and 0.11 after emergence. These errors compare favorably with the +/- 0.10 error in determining residue cover using published measurement methods. Radar estimation of surface roughness was not successfully demonstrated, as no difference was observed in radar backscatter between different surface roughness values.

Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2007