Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Remote Sensing, Cougar Gold

Posted by | May 27, 2009

Getting a Bird’s Eye View of Crop Residue

WSU soil scientist Bruce Frazier’s research focuses on developing GIS and remote sensing techniques to efficiently bring new knowledge of the earth from distant positions where the earth may be viewed in its entirety. One of his projects involves assessing the benefits of using the undercutter, a tillage implement that slices beneath the soil with minimum disturbance. The benefit of the undercutter is reduced soil loss due to wind erosion.

Currently, though, assessing the benefits of using the undercutter method requires that measurements be taken on the ground. Frazier hopes to use satellite images in such assessments. The challenge in using remote imaging is lack of detail, according to Frazier.

“To the eye, a lot of crop residue is the same color as soil,” said Frazier.

Frazier, who oversees the Remote Sensing and GIS Laboratory, said that satellite images can provide information the human eye can’t see, by sensing wavelengths beyond the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Computers convert invisible wavelengths into colors that the eye can see.

On the ground at the WSU Lind Dryland Research Station, Frazier has collected spectral data on a variety of soils and residues using an instrument that measures reflected light at all wavelengths. By using a mathematical method that allows him to correlate residues with data from satellites, he hopes to be able to use satellite images to model actual residue cover amounts.

“Our approach is to understand the spectra of crop residues and background soils to properly interpret the imagery,” Frazier said.

For more information on Frazier’s research, please visit:

Bruce Frazier, soil scientist

Soil scientist Bruce Frazier

More Bling for Cougar Gold

Cougar Gold, Washington State University’s signature cheese, has earned a Gold Star Award from Santé Magazine, a restaurant industry trade publication.

The Santé Gold Star is an elite designation bestowed on a limited number of products deemed to be of exceptional merit by the Santé Food, Wine & Spirits Review tasting panel. Honored products are indicated within Santé’s Food, Wine and Spirits Review section by the appearance of a gold star.

“The WSU Creamery is proud to have Cougar Gold cheese recognized by a magazine that is geared towards restaurant and hospitality professionals,” said Russ Salvadalena, manager of the WSU Creamery. “For the students who work so hard to make our high-quality dairy products, it is a nice confirmation to be honored in this way. It is our hope that more people will try our unique cheese-in-a-can and become hooked by its incredible flavor.”

Over the years, the WSU Creamery’s famous cheese has earned numerous awards, including a second place recognition in its category in the 2008 American Cheese Society Competition and a Gold Award in the prestigious World Cheese Awards in London in 2006.

Cougar Gold is a result of research conducted by WSU dairy scientist Norman S. Golding in the 1940s. The cheese was named in his honor.

For more information on the WSU Creamery, please visit:

Students making cheese at the WSU Creamery

Students making cheese at the WSU Creamery.

Cougar Gold, WSU's award-winning cheese

Cougar Gold, WSU’s award-winning cheese.