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 hackathon 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

  • Registration
    • deadline: February 25th, 2022
    • fees: 20€ for Phds, 10€ for master students, 40€ for all other cases
  • 🛬 Arrival + conference dinner: Thursday evening March 10th, 2022
  • 📅 Seminar day: Friday March 11th, 2022
  • Venue: Palace of the Royal Academies, Brussels (Stevinzaal and Troonzaal)


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


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 – 12:15Oral 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 Electrical resistivity tomography applications for precision irrigation management Vanella et al. (invited)
12:15 – 13:15 Lunch
13:15 – 16:45Interactive 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)
16:45 – 18:00Teams pitch their work and we end with 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)

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 

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