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Remote sensing of biomass and yield of winter wheat under different nitrogen supplies

Serrano, L., Filella, I., Penuelas, J.
Crop science 2000 v.40 no.3 pp. 723-731
Triticum aestivum, biomass, remote sensing, nitrogen, nutrient availability, reflectance, leaf area index, light, nutrient deficiencies, canopy, chlorosis, application rate, ammonium nitrate, Spain
Vegetation indices derived from reflectance data are related to canopy variables such as aboveground biomass, leaf area index (LAI), and the fraction of intercepted photosynthetically active radiation (fIPAR). However, under N stress the relationships between vegetation indices (VI) and these canopy variables might be confounded due to plant chlorosis. We studied the relationships between reflectance-based VI and canopy variables (aboveground biomass, LAI canopy chlorophyll A content [LAI X Chl A], and fIPAR) for a wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) crop growing under different N supplies. Nitrogen fertilization promoted significant increases in radiation interception (plant growth) and, to a lesser extent, in radiation use efficiency (RUE). The VI vs. LAI relationships varied significantly among treatments, rendering the VI-based equations unreliable to estimate LAI under contrasting N conditions. However, a single relationship emerged when LAI X Chl A was considered. Moreover, VI were robust indicators of fIPAR by green canopy components independently of N treatment and phenology. Aboveground biomass was poorly correlated with grain yield, whereas cumulative VI simple ratio (SR) was a good predictor of grain yield, probably because cumulative SR closely tracked the duration and intensity of the canopy photosynthetic capacity.