Estimating crop yield using a satellite-based light use efficiency model

Wenping Yuan, Yang Chen, Jiangzhou Xia, Wenjie Dong*, Vincenzo Magliulo, Eddy Moors, Jørgen Eivind Olesen, Haicheng Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Satellite-based techniques that provide temporally and spatially continuous information over vegetated surfaces have become increasingly important in monitoring the global agriculture yield. In this study, we examine the performance of a light use efficiency model (EC-LUE) for simulating the gross primary production (GPP) and yield of crops. The EC-LUE model can explain on average approximately 90% of the variability in GPP for 36 FLUXNET sites globally. The results indicate that a universal set of parameters, independent of crop species (except for C4 crops), can be adopted in the EC-LUE model for simulating crops' GPP. At both irrigated and rainfed sites, the EC-LUE model exhibits a similar level of performance. However, large errors are found when simulating yield based on crop harvest index. This analysis highlights the need to improve the representation of the harvest index and carbon allocation for improving crop yield estimations from satellite-based methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2574
Pages (from-to)702-709
JournalEcological Indicators
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Crop yield
  • EC-LUE
  • Gross primary production
  • Light use efficiency

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    Yuan, W., Chen, Y., Xia, J., Dong, W., Magliulo, V., Moors, E., Olesen, J. E., & Zhang, H. (2016). Estimating crop yield using a satellite-based light use efficiency model. Ecological Indicators, 60, 702-709. [2574].