Spectral unmixing techniques can be used to quantify crop canopy cover within each pixel of an image and have the potential for mapping the variation in crop yield. This study applied linear spectral unmixing to airborne hyperspectral imagery to estimate the variation in grain sorghum yield. Airborne hyperspectral imagery and yield monitor data recorded from two sorghum fields were used for this study. Both unconstrained and constrained linear spectral unmixing models were applied to the hyperspectral imagery with sorghum plants and bare soil as two endmembers. A pair of plant and soil spectra derived from each image and another pair of ground-measured plant and soil spectra were used as endmember spectra to generate unconstrained and constrained soil and plant cover fractions. Yield was positively related to the plant fraction and negatively related to the soil fraction. The effects of variation in endmember spectra on estimates of cover fractions and their correlations with yield were also examined. The unconstrained plant fraction had essentially the same correlations (r) with yield among all pairs of endmember spectra examined, whereas the unconstrained soil fraction and constrained plant and soil fractions had r-values that were sensitive to the spectra used. For comparison, all 5151 possible narrow-band normalized difference vegetation indices (NDVIs) were calculated from the 102-band images and related to yield. Results showed that the best plant and soil fractions provided better correlations than 96.3 and 99.9% of all the NDVIs for fields 1 and 2, respectively. Since the unconstrained plant fraction could represent yield variation better than most narrow-band NDVIs, it can be used as a relative yield map especially when yield data are not available. These results indicate that spectral unmixing applied to hyperspectral imagery can be a useful tool for mapping the variation in crop yield.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 21, 2007
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