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Mapping of Agricultural Subsurface Drainage Systems Using Proximal and Remote Sensors

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

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Triven Koganti - Lecturer

Barry J. Allred - Lecturer

Ellen Van De Vijver - Lecturer

Mason Andrew Kass - Lecturer

Mogens Humlekrog Greve - Lecturer

Bo Vangsø Iversen - Lecturer

Installation of agricultural subsurface drainage systems is a widely adopted practice to lower the water table, improve the timeliness of field operations and mitigate soil salinization for increasing crop yields. Though they provide many agronomic, economic, and environmental benefits, the drainage pipes act as shortened pathways for solute transport and increase the eutrophication risk of the surface water bodies; thereby affecting the aquatic ecosystem. Hence, knowledge of the location of these installations is important for hydrological modeling to plan effective mitigation strategies. In addition, it is also crucial for initiating repairs or for the periodical reinstallation of drain lines. Nevertheless, this information is often poorly documented or non-existing. The conventional methods for drainage mapping are labor-intensive, time-consuming, and invasive, thus carrying an added risk of severing the drainage pipes. Non-destructive soil and crop sensing techniques might provide an effective alternative solution. In this study, we tested ground-penetrating radar (working in both time and frequency domains), a novel vector magnetic gradiometer, and unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with visible, multispectral, and thermal infrared cameras at study sites in Denmark and Midwest USA. Amongst the proximal sensors, ground-penetrating radar proved mainly successful when the average soil electrical conductivity was less than 20 mS m-1. Amongst the different cameras, thermal imagery proved superior given the relative humidity was lower than 60%. Hence, the complementary use of both techniques is optimal for efficient mapping of the drainage systems. Further, guidelines were proposed on suitable timing for their deployment to maximize the success rate.
11 Mar 2022

Event (Conference)

Title2nd Agrogeophysics seminar
Degree of recognitionInternational event

ID: 258965984