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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparison of Ground-Based Remote Sensors for Evaluation of Corn Biomass Affected by Nitrogen Stress

Authors
item Hong, Soon-Dal - CHUNGBUK NATL U/KOREA
item Schepers, James
item Francis, Dennis
item Schlemmer, Michael

Submitted to: Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 16, 2006
Publication Date: July 1, 2007
Citation: Hong, S., Schepers, J.S., Francis, D.D., Schlemmer, M.R. 2007. Comparison of Ground-Based Remote Sensors for Evaluation of Corn Biomass Affected by Nitrogen Stress. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 31:1-18.

Interpretive Summary: Remote sensing techniques, in particular, multi-spectral visible and near infrared (NIR) reflectance, can provide an instantaneous, non-destructive, and semi-quantitative assessment of the crop biomass. The situation is that many of these crop sensing tools and techniques are not well suited for greenhouse studies or commercial operations where one or even a few plants are involved. As such, there are many greenhouse and commercial hot house operations where the managers could benefit from some type of non-destructive assessment of things like plant size, biomass, color, disease, etc. At the very least, these sensor-based measurements can reveal meaningful relative differences within or between plant canopies. Certain types of measurements related to turf management are able to detect the onset of disease or stress well before the symptoms are visible, so the goal was to determine if some of the same sensing approaches and methods of data analysis can be used in greenhouse settings when the appropriate limitations are recognized. Canopy reflectance measurements made at three growth stages of corn with a variety of hand held spectral sensors (active and passive) were closely correlated with dry weight and chlorophyll meter readings at tasseling, as well as at the two earlier growth stages. Results indicate that selected ground-based sensors and related reflectance indexes can provide a non-destructive, real-time assessment of apparent plant nitrogen status and thus be used for in-season nitrogen management decisions.

Technical Abstract: The non-destructive determination of plant biomass is not possible; however, crop canopy sensors that determine the normalized difference vegetation index have the potential to estimate living biomass, which is indicative of plant vigor and stress. Pot experiments using sand culture were conducted in 2002 and 2003 under greenhouse conditions to evaluate the effect of nitrogen deficiency on corn biomass and reflectance. Stress was imposed by implementing 6 to 8 levels of nitrogen in Hoagland’s nutrient solution. Canopy reflectance measurements made at three growth stages with a variety of hand held spectral sensors (active and passive) were closely correlated with dry weight and chlorophyll meter readings of corn at flowering, as well as at the two earlier growth stages. Results indicate that selected ground-based sensors and related reflectance indexes can provide a non-destructive, real-time assessment of apparent plant nitrogen status and thus be used for in-season nitrogen management decisions.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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