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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management Strategies to Sustain Irrigated Agriculture with Limited Water Supplies

Location: Water Management Research

Title: Remote sensing for evaluating crop water stress at field scale using infrared thermography: Potentials and limitations

Authors
item Taghvaeian, Saleh -
item Chavez, Jose -
item Altenhofen, Jon -
item Trout, Thomas
item DeJonge, Kendall

Research conducted cooperatively with:
item

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 15, 2013
Publication Date: March 27, 2013
Citation: Taghvaeian, S., Chavez, J., Altenhofen, J., Trout, T.J., Dejonge, K.C. 2013. Remote sensing for evaluating crop water stress at field scale using infrared thermography: Potentials and limitations. Meeting Proceedings. Hydrology Days, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO March 25-27, 2013

Technical Abstract: Over the past few decades, the competition for freshwater resources has substantially increased in arid/semi-arid areas, exacerbating the pressure on the largest user of water, namely agriculture, to consume less water. However, reducing crop consumptive water use or evapotranspiration through water stress can have a negative impact on production economics if not precisely managed. Remote sensing of crop canopy temperature is a scientifically-based and easy-to-apply method that can be used at field scales to evaluate crop water status at or near real-time. In this study, thermal images of maize canopy under two deficit irrigation regimes were acquired using a hand-held thermal camera. The results showed that the low-frequency deficit irrigation treatment resulted in higher maize temperatures compared to the high-frequency deficit irrigation regime. A methodology for converting the temperature value of each pixel into a spatially variable crop water stress index (CWSI) is described. Estimated CWSI values were highly correlated with spatial variations in soil texture. Finally, the promising potentials of infrared thermography and current limitations are discussed in detail.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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