Applying geophysics to agricultural soils - measuring tramline soil compaction and soil moisture change beneath wheat cultivars
Dr Peter Shanahan, Lancaster Environment Centre
Wednesday 20 March 2013, 1500-1600
Lecture Theatre 2, Fylde College
From 2009 to 2012 a PhD at Lancaster University was undertaken to assess the application of non-invasive tools to measure soil compaction by heavy farm traffic within arable tramlines. Measurements were conducted on sandy to clay rich soils in southern England at sites operated by ADAS for the Sustainable Arable Link Project. This study applied near-surface electrical resistivity geophysics to tramline treatments, both in the field and laboratory, in combination with conventional measurement techniques. The results reveal that soil of low ground-pressure tyre treatments has different electrical characteristics to soil compacted by standard agricultural tyres, the former indicating greater porosity than the latter. Geophysics is a tool for specialists which can be applied to the study of soil compaction, especially within agricultural engineering and terramechanics.
In the second part of this presentation we will discuss the present work of trialling electromagnetic induction geophysics to measure soil moisture change under different wheat cultivars as part of the collaboration with Prof Andrew Binley, Dr Ian Dodd and Rothamsted Research. A newly acquired EMI instrument, the GF Instruments Mini-Explorer, was been tested at Lancaster University for the development of protocols for the measurement of soil electrical conductivity (a parameter of soil moisture content) over large areas. The results reveal the instrument to be versatile in the field, providing measurements of soils electrical conductivity and responses to metallic objects (e.g. neutron probe access tubes).
In the last 10 minutes of the presentation, my role within the local mountain rescue team will be discussed, providing all an insight into what Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue do, highlighting the environmental hazards facing their operations and incident planning.