Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

High-tech analysis of vineyard soil

21.11.2003


In a special Soil Measurement & Methods section of Vadose Zone Journal, scientists review the state-of-the-art tools for measuring water content in soil



Growing grapes for wine is tightly linked to soil moisture: too little, and the crop can be lost, but an oversupply of water tends to favor leaf development at the expense of fruit quality. It is often difficult to determine which portions of the vineyards require more or less irrigation due to California wine country’s natural geologic variations that control the moisture in soil. These natural variations, which appear over short distances, hamper the ability to map soil moisture of an entire field using conventional measurement techniques. Enter GPR, or ground penetrating radar.

In recent years, many researchers have made progress in the use of GPR as an alternative for TDR, time domain reflectometers, for determining field-scale variations of soil water content. These early TDR sensors came about in the 1980s and utilized the influence of water on the velocity of electromagnetic waves to obtain accurate measurements of soil water content; however, assessment of an entire field remained a tedious task because of the need to install a large number of TDR sensors to adequately cover the field. To overcome these difficulties, scientists have used GPR methods to map a field’s varied soil moisture, as in the case with the California vineyards.


GPR’s high-resolution information can be used to improve vineyard development and management, such as to develop vineyards within uniform "blocks" of soil that have optimal properties, or to improve precision irrigation approaches, says Susan Hubbard, long-time GPR researcher.

"Soil water content information obtained from GPR data can be extremely useful for guiding many environmental, engineering, and agricultural applications, such as in wine making. This is one example of a successful GPR application, but many others can be imagined," she adds.

Hubbard recently joined a group of scientists to review the current state-of-the-art methods for determining soil water content with GPR. This review is one of the contributions to a special section in the November issue of Vadose Zone Journal, published by the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). Over 20 papers are published in this special section based on the symposium, "Soil Physical Measurements and Methods Symposium," held during the 2002 SSSA Annual Meeting. Fittingly, this symposium was dedicated to the research of C. Topp, one of the founding fathers of TDR.

Sander Huisman, an author of the review says, "After recognizing the dominating role of spatial variability at the field scale, it is now time to deal with it. Clearly, the traditional methods cannot detect these variabilities with sufficient resolution and, therefore, many scientists and practitioners are currently searching for alternative techniques. GPR is certainly one of the most promising methods currently under scrutiny".

Of course, there is still a gap between the advances made in the research community and the practical need for straightforward tools to accurately measure water content at high resolution and over large areas. The authors of the study, however, are confident that increased experience and application of GPR will eventually lead to the acceptance of GPR as one of the possible tools to measure field scale variation of soil water content.


Vadose Zone Journal, www.vadosezonejournal.org, is an all-electronic, peer-reviewed, international publication published by the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), with the Geological Society of America as cooperator. The mission of the Vadose Zone Journal is to disseminate research and information of the vadose zone, the mostly unsaturated zone between the soil surface and the permanent groundwater table, including soil water flow and the fate and transport of chemicals stemming from agricultural and industrial practices and waste disposal operations.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) www.crops.org and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) www.soils.org are educational organizations helping their 11,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy, crop and soil sciences by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

Sara Uttech | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vadosezonejournal.org
http://www.agronomy.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>