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Notes from the Field

Notes from the Field – Week 4

July 5th, 2012 by Brian Campbell

Grant Wiseman
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Another hot and dry week here in southern Manitoba has us missing the rain just a little bit. We have experienced a very nice dry down cycle in weeks 3 and 4 after a wet up period initially in weeks 1 and 2. By all accounts this will contribute to a very informative and descriptive dataset.

Some sandy loam soils have approached zero volumetric moisture levels, while many clay soils remain high at 25 or 30 percent but it has become rather difficult to insert moisture probes. Even morning dew levels have subsided. Dare I say, “Let it rain?”

Field crews are well into their groove with many not requiring the use of GPSs or maps for navigation any longer. On a much-deserved scheduled down day some team members took in the Canada Day festivities and fireworks on July 1st at Assiniboine Park or The Forks.

We’re two thirds of the way through and going strong, looking forward to the home stretch!


For more information, visit the SMAP Blogs from the Field page.

Musings from SMAPVEX12 Winnipeg

July 3rd, 2012 by Brian Campbell

Narendra Das
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

I am signing off from SMAPVEX12 at Winnipeg with good vibes, pleasant memories and expectation that this will be a very successful campaign. I hope that, like me, most of my teammates have learnt substantially about the study area and had a great field sampling experience, and have also made many good friends during interactions and group dinners.

I conducted crop structure sampling of various crops (corn, beans, canola, wheat, and pasture) for the last one month and witnessed the growth spurt in crops within the one month span. Even though I knew about crop responses to weather variables I was amazed to see such a rapid response of crop growth to conducive environment conditions, especially for canola and corn.

Dr. Tsang, Dr. Jackson, Narendra, and Sab

Corn plants on 06-09-2012

Corn plants on 06-30-2012


For more information and pictures, visit the SMAP Blogs from the Field page.

Notes from the Field – Week 3

June 27th, 2012 by Brian Campbell

Grant Wiseman
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Week 3 provided 7 days of much needed sunshine allowing for a study-site-wide dry down of soils and a significant increase in crop growth. Field crews were able to collect vegetation samples twice and soil moisture measurements four times!

“Mutant Canola”

For more information, visit the SMAP Notes from the Field page.

Vegetation Sampling

June 24th, 2012 by Brian Campbell

Jacqueline Freeman
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Here are some photos from my veg team. They were taken today and show just some of the activities we perform during a vegetation sampling day.

Measuring crop height and diameter

The first image is of Saeid and myself measuring crop height and diameter and recording all of the info onto a field sheet. Each field has 3 pre-determined sampling points where all measurements are taken. Then vegetation is collected in labelled paper bags, and then sealed in plastic bags which we transport to the lab crew situated at Ma’s Drive-In in Elm Creek. Samples are then weighed (wet) and dried for about 2 days and weighed again (dry). The lab crew also separates the plant parts (leaves, stems) and weighs and dries those to determine where the bulk of the moisture is held within the plant.


For more SMAPVEX12 vegetation sampling information and pictures, visit the SMAP Blogs from the Field site.

Aircraft Open House

June 23rd, 2012 by Brian Campbell

Eni Njoku
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

We are finally looking at a dry spell weatherwise for the next several days.

The forecast is for clear weather (started yesterday) that should last through the coming week. PALS and UAVSAR had flights yesterday and today. Tomorrow (Sunday) there will be no flights, and then we plan to fly on Monday and then every third day or so following the 2-3 day flight schedule we originally planned. Over the week we should get a good sampling of the dry-down with both airborne and in situ observations across the experiment domain, modulated by the soil texture and vegetation differences between the fields.

A few do’s and don’ts.


Cockpit entry is harder than it looks.


For more Open House pictures, visit the SMAP Blogs from the Field site.