Remote Sensing of Crop Residue Cover in Central Washington
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Crop residue cover has long been important for erosion control in the dryland agriculture region of the Pacific Northwest. Monitoring of residue covers is essential to determine the success of tillage practices implemented over time. The expanse of agricultural land makes on-site monitoring impractical. Imagery collected by satellites may substitute for field measurements. While there are many years of satellite data available for monitoring we need to learn how to interpret the data for sites that cannot be visited. Our approach is to understand the spectra of crop residues and background soils to properly interpret the imagery. The objectives are to define and test spectral differences that allow separation of fresh crop residue (mainly wheat and barley), bare soil, old (weathered) residue, as well as permanent grassland, and to develop spectral indexes that will allow us to map areas that have not been visited.