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: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Satellite-based Laser Measurement Technology against Climate Change

17.01.2017 | Machine Engineering

Studying fundamental particles in materials

17.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>