Previous studies have shown the importance of soil moisture (SM) in estimating crop yield potential (YP). The sensor based nitrogen (N) rate calculator (SBNRC) developed by Oklahoma State University utilizes the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the in-season estimated yield (INSEY) as the estimate of biomass to assess YP and to generate N recommendations based on estimated crop need. The objective was to investigate whether including the SM parameter into SBNRC could help to increase the accuracy of YP prediction and improve N rate recommendations. Two experimental sites (Lahoma and Perkins) in Oklahoma were established in 2006/07 and 2007/08. Wheat spectral reflectance was measured using a GreenSeeker™ 505 hand-held optical sensor (N-Tech Industries, Ukiah, CA). Soil–water content measured with matric potential 229-L sensors (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT) was used to determine volumetric water content and fractional water index. The relationships between NDVI, INSEY and SM indices at planting and sensing at 5, 25, 60 and 75-cm depths versus grain yield (GY) were evaluated. Wheat GY, NDVI at Feekes 5 and soil WC at planting and as sensed at three depths were also analyzed for eight consecutive growing seasons (1999–2006) for Lahoma. Incorporation of SM into NDVI and INSEY calculations resulted in equally good prediction of wheat GY for all site-years. This indicates that NDVI alone was able to account for the lack of SM information and thus lower crop YP. Soil moisture data, especially at the time of sensing at the 5-cm depth could assist in refining winter wheat YP prediction.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 19, 2012
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