Geophysics and agriculture: an electrical meeting

ERT in pototo field

| 2nd Agrogeophysics seminar |

After the success of the first edition ‘Geophysics & Agriculture: the perfect match?’ in 2020, we are pleased to give you all a new opportunity to exchange knowledge, good practices, and passion on current trending topics in agrogeophysics.

When applied to agriculture, geophysics targets physical quantities (resistivity, permittivity,elastic moduli …) that indirectly relate to soil and plant properties or hydrological variables. By consequence, Agrogeophysics is a discipline looking for indices to understand the complex interplay between the soil, the plant(s), and the atmosphere.

In the last years, particular attention has been devoted to the development of small-scale studies conducted on a single plant with the aim to translate geophysical observations to state variables governing the soil-plant interactions. On the other hand, we observed a momentum for larger-scale Geophysics using soil proximal to remote sensing in order to map and support agricultural decisions. Yet, although mainly focused on water management issues, agrogeophysics is not limited to and emerging frontiers topics show the potential of geophysical methods to highlight soil processes like carbon and nitrogen cycling.

You can submit any research related to agrogeophysics. We particularly welcome engagement of early-career scientists who are interested to work across groups, scales, and disciplines.

In an interactive session we will work with those interested in some of the new initiatives in data management, codes integration, and standards in agrogeophysics and will encourage the gathering of pedophysical data.

Key dates and registration

  • Extended abstract submission deadline February 4th, 2021 (POSTERS ONLY)
  • Registration
    • deadline: February 4th, 2022
    • fees: 20€ for Phds, 10€ for master students, 40€ for all other cases
  • Final program and decision January 31st, 2022
  • 🛬 Arrival + conference dinner: Thursday evening March 10th, 2022
  • 📅 Seminar day: Friday March 11th, 2022

Abstract submission

Please follow the guidelines on this page for the submission of your abstract. The abstract submission deadline is Wednesday, February 4th 2021, 13:00 CET.


You want to attend, with or without a contribution? Please register here.

Preliminary programme

Thu 10/03
19:00-22:00Icebreaker conference dinner in Brussels
Fri 11/03 – Palace of the royal academies
9:00-10:00Oral block I – Conveners Ellen Van De Vijver and Christian Von Hebel
9:00 Evaluating VNIR spectroscopy, electromagnetic induction and gamma spectrometry to predict soil properties at landscape scale – Steigerwald et al. 
9:15 Large Scale EMI Survey linking Electrical Conductivity to Soil Type Properties using Machine Learning Classification Methods. – O’Leary et al. (invited)
9:30 Using geophysical sensors to map and improve the characterization of peatlands in Denmark – Adetsu et al. 
9:45 Mapping of Agricultural Subsurface Drainage Systems Using Proximal and Remote Sensors – Koganti et al. (invited)
10:00 – 11:00Coffee and poster session
Carrera et al. – Joint inversion approach for soil compaction characterization 
EMI characterization in mountain catchments: multi-frequency versus multi-coil inversion using EMagPy – Blanchy et al. 
The potential of geophysics for field phenotyping – Garré et al. 
Modeling soil structure spatio-temporal dynamics and geophysical signatures of compacted soils – Romero-Ruiz et al.
(…contributions to be completed…)
11:00 – 12:00Oral block II – Conveners Sarah Garré and Alejandro Romero – Ruiz
11:00 Sensing of roots at the field scale using spectral electrical impedance tomography (tbd) – Michels et al. 
11:15 Spectral Induced Polarization Characterization of artificial soils with varying water saturation, salinity and clay content – Iván et al. 
11:30 Electrical Resistivity Tomography as a monitoring tool for rain-fed agricultural hydrodynamics in southern African Alfisols – Swift et al. (invited)
11:45 Cosmic-ray neutron sensing in support of precision irrigation or: how a fairly simple question yields a puzzling answer – Brogi et al. (invited)
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 16:30Interactive session / hackathon / … – Conveners Guillaume Blanchy and Benjamin Mary

Start: a quick overview of CAGSPhase 1: idea generation to answer the challenges listed below (1/2h)
Phase 2: idea development (1h30)
☕ coffee break
Phase 3: idea implementation (1h)
☕ coffee break
Phase 4: pitch of team results to an expert panel and the public (30-45 min)
16:30 – 18:00Teams pitch their work and we end we drinks and fingerfood. 🙂


The seminar is supported by


Organizing team

Sarah Garré (ILVO, KULeuven), Benjamin Mary (UNIPD), Ellen Van De Vijver (UGent), Alejandro Romero-Ruiz (Rothamsted Research), Guillaume Blanchy (ULiège, ILVO)

SSSB thematic day on soil structure and compaction

Detection, monitoring and management of soil structure and compaction

Friday November 26th, 2021 9:15-12:30

Please find the full recorded oral presentations and posters and abstracts here.

We explored how to characterize and monitor soil structure and treat the challenges around the widespread problem of soil compaction and soil structural loss: prevention, detection, monitoring and management.

Soil compaction is one of the main physical threats to soil and largely results from the use of agricultural machinery, often in combination with wet soil. Halting soil degradation was put forward by the United Nations as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 15). The phenomenon not only has negative consequences for rooting, nutrient uptake and consequently crop yield, but also compromises good water management. A compacted soil, after all, prevents the proper drainage of water in wet periods and makes it difficult for moisture to rise from deeper layers in dry conditions.

During this thematic day, we explored ongoing research on prevention, detection, monitoring and remediation of soil structural loss and compaction and its underlying processes.

picture Alejandro Romero Ruiz

Keynote talk by Alejandro Romero-Ruiz / Methods for Field-Scale Characterization of Soil Structure

Alejandro is a postdoctoral scientist at Rothamsted Research (UK). He obtained his PhD from the University of Lausanne in 2021, in which he studied the impact of soil compaction on soil hydraulic and mechanical properties at the plot scale by combining hydrological modeling and field monitoring of geophysical data. His current research focuses on the impacts of soil compaction in grasslands resulting from animal treading.


9:30Romero-RuizRothamsted/ETHKeynote: Geophysical method for field-scale soil structure characterization
10:00LinUGentAssessment of soil structural quality across different textures with visual and soil physical analysis methods
10:20AnseeuwVIVESTowards a common VSA standard for Flanders
10:40VanderhasseltILVORemediation of subsoil compaction by subsoiling and deep rooting crops
11:00-11:20coffee break
11:20HardyCRAwThe QuantiSlake test : a new simple method to evaluate soil structural stability
11:30PirlotGxABTMonitoring the temporal evolution of the soil structure of three innovative production systems in the field
11:40Ten DammeSLUAccounting for traction effects for improved assessment of the risk of soil compaction
11:50-11:55short break
11:55VandekerckhoveBDBRemediation of subsoil compaction by deep tillage
12:05Mendoza VeiranaUGentA theoretical improvement of soil pedophysical permittivity models
12:15PeitenUAEcological and hydrological functioning of compacted and non-compacted topographical depressions in agroscapes

Book of abstracts

Kijken in de bodem: inspiratie en technieken

Op vrijdag 23 april organiseert de Nederlandse Bodemkundige Vereniging een webinar ‘Kijken in de bodem: inspiratie en technieken’. De webinar vindt plaats via Microsoft Teamsvan 14 – 16 uur. Tijdens deze webinar delen drie boeiende sprekers hun verhaal over hoe je op een creatieve manier bodems kunt laten zien en hoe je erover kunt communiceren naar een breed publiek.

Wordt geïnspireerd door Karen Vancampenhout (KU Leuven) die via ‘story telling’ het verhaal achter een bodem overbrengt, Stephan Mantel (ISRIC) die kan uitleggen hoe je een bodemmonoliet maakt (en het verschil met een lakprofiel) en wat het belang is van de collectie in het ISRIC Wereld Bodem Museum, en Christina Eickmeier (CHRITH architects) die vanuit het project ‘Kijken in de grond’ ( op een creatieve manier de grote verscheidenheid aan bodems toont.  

Je kunt je opgeven door op deze onderstaande te klikken of via Stuur deze uitnodiging gerust door naar andere geïnteresseerden.

Met vriendelijke groet,

Chantal Hendriks

Secretaris/penningmeester NBV

POTENTIAL project closing event

ATTENTION: this event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please find the final report here for background information:

The objective of the POTENTIAL project  was to increase N and water utilization in potato by co-scheduling of fertilizer N and irrigation water. The results  demonstrate high potential to combine different remote sensing data in a complementary approach to determine spatio-temporarily the fertilization and irrigation needs of potato. Results of the POTENTIAL project are summarized in a manual with guidelines  for variable rate irrigation and fertilization in potato which is presented at a seminar on xx/xx/2020 at The Palace of the Royal Academies in Brussels

13.30  – 16:00  Presentation “Guidelines for variable rate irrigation and fertilization in potato”

with contributions from •Pieter Janssens and Sofie Reynaert (Bodemundige Dienst van België) •Isabelle Piccard and Klaas Pauly (VITO) •Sarah Garre (Université de Liège) •Johan Booij and Jan Kamp (Wageningen university and research) •Christian Von Hebel (forzungszentrum julich) •Mathias Neumann Andersen, Kiril Manevski and Kirstin Koerup  (Aarhus university) •

16:00 – 17:00 Reception 

Future challenges for soil scientists (postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic)

Venue: Royal Academy, Hertogstraat 1, Brussels – The Ockeghem Room

NEW Date: to be confirmed


Register for the DYSS 2020 and meet your fellow soil scientists. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to exchange, learn and network.


  • Keynote speakers:
    Jeroen Meersmans – “Future challenges for soil scientists
    Karen Vancampenhout – “Roadmap to publish your research”
  • Talks and poster presentations by young soil scientists
  • Dare to share – Failure stories in soil science
  • Young Soil Scientist Award ceremony

Abstract submission

  • Scope
    All field related to soil science
    Add future challenges dealing with your field of expertise at the end of both your abstract and presentation and present your perspectives
  • Format
    Title, Authors , Abstract max 2500 words
    Communication preference (Poster/Oral)
    Language: English
  • There is no limit to the number of poster presentations! M.Sc. thesis students are warmly encouraged to make a poster on their actual thesis work, with special attention to the research question they are trying to answer + the methods of their research.
  • Deadline: XXX

Diversity of wine-growing terroirs in Burgundy – international excursion 2020

May 2021

Burgundy, France

Our upcoming international excursion will focus on the “Diversity of wine-growing terroirs in Burgundy”. We will leave Belgium on Sunday 17 and arrive in Dijon at 5 pm. We will be in the vineyard plots and in the tasting cellars. We will leave Dijon on the 20th at 5 pm to reach Belgium in the late evening. News will come in the coming days about the final organization and registration processes

Organizer: Prof.-Em. B. Delvaux (UCLouvain)

Soil management for carbon sequestration and restoration of soil fertility

February 3rd, 2020 13h-15h30, Auditoritum Barb 94, Louvain-la-Neuve


Claire Chenu, member of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the 4 per 1000 initiative will give a presentation (in English). More details here.


This presentation will be followed by a panel discussion (in French) on policies, measures and examples of C sequestration in the soils of Wallonia.


You are welcome to debate with experts of the 4 per 1000 initiative, the Walloon administration, Soil Capital and a consultant for the agro-food sector (to be confirmed).

Organized by Louvain-la-Neuve University – ELI and SSSB topical committee IV

Seminar ‘Geophysics & Agriculture: the perfect match?’ on January 31st, 2020

ERT in pototo field

Agrogeophysics is an emerging research field. What are the applications, potential and future research needs? Come and discover with us.

About this Event

The challenges in agriculture are enormous. We have to produce enough food while safe-guarding our environment for future generations. A better understanding of the nature of underlying processes and interactions in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum of our agro-ecosystems is crucial. Geophysical tools have the potential to characterize and quantify these processes non-invasively from plot to landscape scale. Nevertheless, a number of challenges remain for geophysical results to be fully exploited by decision-makers and other scientific communities. In this seminar, we will explore ongoing research in the field of agrogeophysics, discuss potential applications and highlight future research needs.

Register here.


Thursday 30/1/2020
19:30 Pre-conference dinner in Brussels (WOLF )

Friday 31/1/2020

8:15-9:00   Registration of participants & coffee
9:00-9:10   Welcome word
9:10-9:40 Mihai Cimpoiascu A quantitative link between undisturbed soil pore architecture and time-lapse electrical resistivity measurements of pore fluid content
9:40-10:10 Sathyan Rao Studying signatures of roots from non-invasive electrical measurements
10:10-10:40 Edmundo Placencia Spectral induced polarization signatures of soils enriched in century-old biochar: Implications for hydric behaviour characterization of agroecosystems
10:40-11:10   Coffee break
11:10-11:40 Guillaume Blanchy Geophysical monitoring for crop phenotyping
11:40-12:10 Benjamin Mary The GROWING project (Geophysical Root Observations for Water SavING): Background and objectives
12:10-12:40 Eve Daly The role of geophysics in sustainable agriculture and the protection of groundwater resources in Ireland
12:40-14:00   Lunch break + posters
14:00-14:30 Cosimo Brogi Geophysics-based soil mapping for improved modelling of spatial variability in crop growth and yield
14:30-15:00 Lidong Ren The use of EMI to assess soil compaction
15:00-16:00   Coffee break + discussion future collaborations
16:00-16:30 Christian Von Hebel Discovering field-specific management zones incorporating ground-based electromagnetic induction and drone-based crop data  
16:30-17:00 Sarah Garré Geophysics for agriculture? To the roots!
17:00-19:00   Closing drink and finger food

*Presentation format: 20 min + 10 min discussion

Poster presentations by David O’Leary, Russell Swift, Adriaan Vanderhasselt, Maximilian Weigand and Pieter Janssens.


Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech
Auditorium PhV, Building 48 on campus map
Avenue Maréchal Juin
5030 Gembloux

Parking: 3 (or Parking senghor 7 also nearby)
Train station at 10 min. by foot


Nearby hotel: Hôtel les 3 Clés

Easy train connections from Namur (ca. 10min) or Brussels (ca. 30min) where options are available for accomodation.


Sarah GARRE – Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech

with support from
 ENVITAM doctoral school
Soil Science Society of Belgium (SSSB) – Topical committee II. Soil physics and hydrology

Soil & Wine – Thematic day 2019 #TD2019

What is terroir? Does soil determine what we taste in wine? What does that mean for Belgian wines?
Touch, taste and find the answers on these questions and much more during  the next SSSB thematic day on December 4th, 2019 in Louvain-la-neuve.

Keynote speakers

The Impact of Terroir on wine production: wine-growing aœnological potential in Belgium – by Bruno Delvaux, Vincent Dienst & Charles Vander Linden (UCLouvain, Château Bousval)

Monitoring of water status in the soil-vine-atmosphere system: evaluation of the water constraint at Château de Bousval
– by Louis Delval, Marion Trigaux & Clemence Becker (UCLouvain)
How to express terroir in original belgian wines? A case study at the Domaine du Chenoy

– by Jean-Bernard & Pierre-Marie Despatures (Domaine du Chenoy)

Soil and wine – in the field!

Visit to the ‘Château de Bousval’ vineyards with examinations of the soil profiles in a toposequence. This evaluation of the profiles will be paired with tasting of two Chardonnay 2018 harvested at the top and bottom of that very toposequence!

Registration and call for poster abstracts

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis as the number of participants will be limited.

Practical information

Check-in and departure: Auditorium S01, Croix du Sud, Louvain-Neuve (Parking 20)

08:15 Welcome, registration and coffee: Auditorium Sud 01, Croix du Sud, Louvain-Neuve
08:50 Departure by bus to the vineyard Château Bousval
Meeting points: Auditorium Sud 01, 8:45; Croix du Sud Parking 20, 08:50
09:20 Vineyard Château Bousval. Welcome by Ir. Vincent Dienst
Soil toposequence: examination of two soil profiles with distinct hydric properties and thus different levels in water constraint (boots are recommended)
Wine degustation: links between water constraint and wine quality
12:00 Board meeting for SSSB board members, Salle du Décanat AGRO, Croix du Sud
Free time for other participants: sandwiches available at the Bar Agro, Sud 01
14:00 Key note: The Impact of Terroir on wine production: wine-growing and oenological potential in Belgium by Bruno Delvaux, Vincent Dienst, Charles Vander Linden
14:40 Soil survey for land evaluation and rootstock selection in viticulture in Belgium by Sofie Reynaert
15:00 Soil properties, water constraint and quality in Belgian viticulture. Case study of Château Bousval by Louis Delval
15:20 Coffee break and poster session
15:45 Key note: How to express terroir in original Belgian wines? Case study of the Domaine du Chenoy by Jean-Bernard & Pierre-Marie Despatures
16:20 High-resolution subsurface imaging using ground-penetrating radar and electromagnetic induction for optimal management of vineyards by Sébastien Lambot
16:40 Announcement for the SSSB International Spring Excursion in 2020: Linking Terroir and Soils to Wine Typicity and Quality, Burgundy, France by Bruno Delvaux
16:45 Concluding remarks

Organizer: Prof. Bruno Delvaux
for the Soil Science Society of Belgium

Thematic day 2018: Biogeochemical cycles and their role in the Earth system

What? Thematic day on “Biogeochemical cycles and their role in the Earth system”
When? November 21st, 2018
Where? Palace of the Royal Academies, Brussels

Description. Biogeochemical cycles are characterized by geo, i.e. physical and chemical transformations of an element on earth; bio, i.e. a cycle involves at least one biotic process; and cycle, because element species produced in one process are eventually consumed in a subsequent process. Biogeochemistry is, therefore, an interdisciplinary discipline that includes physical, chemical, and biological process that contribute to the functions and values of ecosystems on Earth.

Biogeochemical cycles fulfill key functions that are critically important to maintain life on Earth. These functions include: storage and use of radiation energy the Earth receives (CO2 fixation); and recycling of material, which allows the biosphere to use the same element over and over again. The elements studied in biogeochemical cycles depend on the scientific question to pursue, but in soil science we are merely interested in biogeochemical cycles because of the role they play defining the interaction between livings systems (e.g. plants, microorganisms) and the abiotic environment (e.g. soils, rocks). Major and minor elements are considered as essential or beneficial depending on their role in terrestrial biosphere functioning.

The interplays between elements (C, N, P, S and Fe, Mn, Si, Ca, Mg, K) are however are however central for understanding the role of biogeochemical processes on global balance of elements. The interdisciplinarity nature of biogeochemistry becomes obvious in various research lines, such as: catchment and river monitoring, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem functioning, biosphere-atmosphere exchange in a global change era, (global) nutrient cycles and their interactions, isotope systems, etc.

Keynote by Prof. Steven Bouillon (KULeuven) and Prof. Pascal Boeckx (UGent):
Congo basin biogeochemical cycles: linking terrestrial and aquatic processes’



We invite oral and poster submissions that studied biogeochemical cycles in soil systems, but highly encourage submissions that show interactions between the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and cryosphere, thereby highlighting the key role of biogeochemical cycles for the Earth system. 

Please proceed to abstract submission and registration here.
Deadline for submission: October 19th, 2018.

SSSB member: 5 Euro
-Thematic Day only: 20 Euro
-Thematic day + Membership for 2019: 40 Euro