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Sensors 2015, 15(2), 2920-2943; doi:10.3390/s150202920

Estimation of Biomass and Canopy Height in Bermudagrass, Alfalfa, and Wheat Using Ultrasonic, Laser, and Spectral Sensors

1
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK 73401, USA
2
Oklahoma State University Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 November 2014 / Revised: 6 January 2015 / Accepted: 22 January 2015 / Published: 28 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors)
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Abstract

Non-destructive biomass estimation of vegetation has been performed via remote sensing as well as physical measurements. An effective method for estimating biomass must have accuracy comparable to the accepted standard of destructive removal. Estimation or measurement of height is commonly employed to create a relationship between height and mass. This study examined several types of ground-based mobile sensing strategies for forage biomass estimation. Forage production experiments consisting of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.], and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were employed to examine sensor biomass estimation (laser, ultrasonic, and spectral) as compared to physical measurements (plate meter and meter stick) and the traditional harvest method (clipping). Predictive models were constructed via partial least squares regression and modeled estimates were compared to the physically measured biomass. Least significant difference separated mean estimates were examined to evaluate differences in the physical measurements and sensor estimates for canopy height and biomass. Differences between methods were minimal (average percent error of 11.2% for difference between predicted values versus machine and quadrat harvested biomass values (1.64 and 4.91 t·ha−1, respectively), except at the lowest measured biomass (average percent error of 89% for harvester and quad harvested biomass < 0.79 t·ha−1) and greatest measured biomass (average percent error of 18% for harvester and quad harvested biomass >6.4 t·ha−1). These data suggest that using mobile sensor-based biomass estimation models could be an effective alternative to the traditional clipping method for rapid, accurate in-field biomass estimation. View Full-Text
Keywords: remote sensing; biomass estimation; mobile sensors; sensor system; data acquisition; high-throughput remote sensing; biomass estimation; mobile sensors; sensor system; data acquisition; high-throughput
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pittman, J.J.; Arnall, D.B.; Interrante, S.M.; Moffet, C.A.; Butler, T.J. Estimation of Biomass and Canopy Height in Bermudagrass, Alfalfa, and Wheat Using Ultrasonic, Laser, and Spectral Sensors. Sensors 2015, 15, 2920-2943.

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