Durum wheat in-field monitoring and early yield prediction: assessment of potential use of high resolution satellite imagery in a hilly area of Tuscany, Central Italy

2013 - Journal of Agricultural Science
Dalla Marta, A., Grifoni, D., Mancini, M., Orlando, F., Guasconi, F., Orlandini, S.


Modern agriculture is based on the control of in-field variability, which is determined by the interactions of numerous factors such as soil, climate and crop. For this reason, the use of remote sensing is becoming increasingly important, thanks to the technological development of satellites able to supply information with high spatial resolution and revisit frequency. Despite the large number of studies on the use of remote sensing for crop monitoring, very few have addressed the problem of spatial variability at field scale or the early prediction of crop yield and grain quality. The aim of the current research was to assess the potential use of high resolution satellite imagery for monitoring durum wheat growth and development, addressing forecast grain yield and protein content, through vegetation indices at two stages of crop development. To best represent the natural variability of agricultural production, thestudywas conducted inwheatfields managed by local farmers. As regards dry weight,
leaf area index and nitrogen (N) content, the possibility of describing the crop state is evident at stem elongation, while at anthesis this potential is completely lost. However, satellites seem to be unable to estimate the N concentration. Aboveground biomass accumulated from emergence to stem elongation is strictly related to the final yield, while it has been confirmed that the crop parameters observed at anthesis are less informative, despite approaching harvesting time.

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DOI: 10.1017/S0021859613000877