Analysis of vegetation indices to determine nitrogen application and yield prediction in maize (zea mays l.) from a standard uav service

Ángel Maresma, Mar Ariza, Elías Martínez, Jaume Lloveras, José A. Martínez-Casasnovas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The growing use of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and the need to adjust N fertilization rates in maize (Zea mays L.) currently constitute a key research issue. In this study, different multispectral vegetation indices (green-band and red-band based indices), SPAD and crop height (derived from a multispectral compact camera mounted on a UAV) were analysed to predict grain yield and determine whether an additional sidedress application of N fertilizer was required just before flowering. Seven different inorganic N rates (0, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 400 kg·N·ha-1), two different pig slurry manure rates (Ps) (150 or 250 kg·N·ha-1) and four different inorganic-organic N combinations (N100Ps150, N100Ps250, N200Ps150, N200Ps250) were applied to maize experimental plots. The spectral index that best explained final grain yield for the N treatments was the Wide Dynamic Range Vegetation Index (WDRVI). It identified a key threshold above/below 250-300 kg·N·ha-1. WDRVI, NDVI and crop height showed no significant response to extra N application at the economic optimum rate of fertilization (239.8 kg·N·ha-1), for which a grain yield of 16.12 Mg·ha-1 was obtained. This demonstrates their potential as yield predictors at V12 stage. Finally, a ranking of different vegetation indices and crop height is proposed to overcome the uncertainty associated with basing decisions on a single index..

Original languageEnglish
Article number973
JournalRemote Sensing
Volume8
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Crop height
  • Maize
  • Multispectral vegetation indices
  • Nitrogen
  • UAV

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