Using Drone Optical and Thermal Infrared Remote Sensing to determine if Conventional Tillage increases Soil Bulk Density and Lowers Porosity by forming a Plow Pan

Authors: William Lyons*, Kentucky State University, Buddhi Gyawali, Kentucky State University, Jeremy Sandifer, Kentucky State University
Topics: Soils, Agricultural Geography, Remote Sensing
Keywords: soils, agriculture, remote sensing, UAV
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This study explores the dynamics of land cover change, and the formation of pressure pans, also known as plow pan, within a former conventionally tilled crop field. A plough pan is an induced subsurface soil layer with high bulk density and low total porosity. As the plow turns over the top profiles of soil, compaction occurs deep within the profile creating a hard clay structure found below the maximum depth of conventional tillage methods which restrict root development of crops. Using airborne optical and infrared remote sensing to determining the severity of pressure pan in former conventionally tilled fields is a non-invasive solution. Optical and infrared sensors attached to a DJI drone allow for visualization of radiance and RGB values from fields. The location for this study is a beef cattle and crop production farm located 46 miles to the east of Louisville, Kentucky. The fields used for this study are now under a no-tillage practice but formerly conventionally tilled. Conventional tillage is used to produce a fine seedbed and includes a sequence of ploughing and harrowing. This study evaluates the effects of plow pan formation on fields formerly intensively tilled on bulk density and movement of water in the soil. The results of this study are being utilized for increased soil health and the need for less fertilizer on crop fields.

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