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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(11), 1682; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10111682

High-Throughput Phenotyping of Crop Water Use Efficiency via Multispectral Drone Imagery and a Daily Soil Water Balance Model

1
USDA-ARS, Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center, Maricopa, AZ 85138, USA
2
Maricopa Agricultural Center, University of Arizona, Maricopa, AZ 85138, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 September 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 22 October 2018 / Published: 25 October 2018
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Abstract

Improvement of crop water use efficiency (CWUE), defined as crop yield per volume of water used, is an important goal for both crop management and breeding. While many technologies have been developed for measuring crop water use in crop management studies, rarely have these techniques been applied at the scale of breeding plots. The objective was to develop a high-throughput methodology for quantifying water use in a cotton breeding trial at Maricopa, AZ, USA in 2016 and 2017, using evapotranspiration (ET) measurements from a co-located irrigation management trial to evaluate the approach. Approximately weekly overflights with an unmanned aerial system provided multispectral imagery from which plot-level fractional vegetation cover ( f c ) was computed. The f c data were used to drive a daily ET-based soil water balance model for seasonal crop water use quantification. A mixed model statistical analysis demonstrated that differences in ET and CWUE could be discriminated among eight cotton varieties ( p < 0 . 05 ), which were sown at two planting dates and managed with four irrigation levels. The results permitted breeders to identify cotton varieties with more favorable water use characteristics and higher CWUE, indicating that the methodology could become a useful tool for breeding selection. View Full-Text
Keywords: breeding; drought; evapotranspiration; modeling; phenomics; remote sensing; unmanned aerial system breeding; drought; evapotranspiration; modeling; phenomics; remote sensing; unmanned aerial system
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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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Thorp, K.R.; Thompson, A.L.; Harders, S.J.; French, A.N.; Ward, R.W. High-Throughput Phenotyping of Crop Water Use Efficiency via Multispectral Drone Imagery and a Daily Soil Water Balance Model. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1682.

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