Submitted to: Remote Sensing Reviews
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 20, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Detection of changes in crop growth and condition within production fields is quite difficult because it is hard to survey all of the parts of the field. Remote sensing of complete fields with aircraft or satellite systems provides a tool to help assess crop condition and develop a repeated set of measurements over time. This information is of use of producers because they can examine production fields for problems that may go unnoticed until harvest. Remote sensing as a tool for agricultural management offers a potential for evaluating different areas of fields across years to develop a knowledge base producers need to make informed decisions. A survey was made of the different uses of current wavebands available on ground, aircraft, or satellite platforms to determine how this information could be application to crops grown in agricultural areas without irrigation. The current sensors allow for accurate estimation of the amount of crop, yield, adequacy of nitrogen for optimum crop growth, and pest (weeds, insects, and diseases) detection. The advances that have been made in the past 30 years in applying remote sensing data to agricultural problems is being applied to management decisions.
Dryland agricultural crops comprise the majority of the world's agricultural production. Crops produced throughout the world using only precipitation as the water source represents a wide range of species, production practices, and uses. Observations of these crops to understand their production, distribution, and management responses with remote sensing platforms has proven to be a challenge for a number of reasons. The development of Vegetative Indices (VI's) for dryland crops showed the necessity of understanding the role of soil background because in many crops there was a lack of complete ground cover. Studies conducted on a variety of species showed that VI's could be related to amount of plant biomass, leaf area, and intercepted radiation. There have been several attempts to link thermal emittance with reflected radiation combine measures of plant stress (nutrients, water, insects, disease, and weeds) with growth and development. Remote sensing of dryland crops has proven successful and current research is directed toward further development of tools that can be used for decision-making about crop and soil management. Incorporation of remotely sensed information into crop management decisions will improve water and nutrient use efficiency and enhance crop performance.