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Non-destructive estimation of wheat leaf chlorophyll content from hyperspectral measurements through analytical model inversion

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Optimizing nitrogen (N) fertilization in crop production by in-season measurements of crop N status may improve fertilizer N use efficiency. Hyperspectral measurements may be used to assess crop N status indirectly by estimating leaf and canopy chlorophyll content. This study evaluated the ability of the PROSAIL canopy-level reflectance model to predict leaf chlorophyll content of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) during the growth stages between pre-tillering (Zadoks Growth Stage (ZGS 15)) to booting (ZGS50). Spring wheat was grown under different N fertility rates (0-200 kg N ha-1) in 2002. Canopy reflectance, leaf chlorophyll content, N content and leaf area index (LAI) values were measured. There was a weakly significant trend for the PROSAIL model to over-estimate LAI and under-estimate leaf chlorophyll content. To compensate for this interdependency by the model, a canopy chlorophyll content parameter (the product of leaf chlorophyll content and LAI) was calculated. The estimation accuracy for canopy chlorophyll content was generally low earlier in the growing season. This failure of the PROSAIL model to estimate leaf and canopy variables could be attributed to model sensitivity to canopy architecture. Earlier in the growing season, full canopy closure was not yet achieved, resulting in a non-homogenous canopy and strong soil background interference. The canopy chlorophyll content parameter was predicted more accurately than leaf chlorophyll content alone at booting (ZGS 45). A strong relationship between canopy chlorophyll content and canopy N content at ZGS 45 indicates that the PROSAIL model may be used as a tool to predict wheat N status from canopy reflectance measurements at booting or later.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Environmental Earth Observation Group, CSIRO Land and Water, ACT, Australia 2: University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada 3: Potato Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fredericton, NB, Canada

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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