Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering


Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

First Advisor

Amy L. Kaleita


The use of cover crops has been recognized as an agricultural management practice

that can enhance soil quality, contribute to suppressing weeds, promote the recycling of

nutrients, and provide many other benefits when incorporated in farming systems. Because

cover crops can mitigate or prevent soil erosion and nutrient leaching, the positive impact

of this conservation practice also has an effect beyond farm boundaries, by reducing the

contamination of water bodies caused by agriculture. As a consequence, state and federal

agencies have been trying to assess farmer’s motivations and barriers for cover crop use,

and have also intended to track their adoption as a means of assessing conservation practice

implementation. Because remote sensing techniques can provide information over large

areas, periodically, it can be useful for estimating cover cropped fields.

A decision tree model approach was used in this study to develop sets of criteria

for the identification of fields with cover crops, pastures and grasses, and stover, based on

monthly NDVI values. The model had an overall accuracy of 82%, while the level of

precision for cover crop detection was 76.9%. The results of this study demonstrate that

remote sensing can be used successfully to identify the adoption of cover crops in

agricultural fields based on monthly average NDVI values.


Copyright Owner

Carolina Bermudez



File Format


File Size

86 pages