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Evaluation of Grass Quality under Different Soil Management Scenarios Using Remote Sensing Techniques

1
Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zanjan, 45371-38791 Zanjan, Iran
2
National Centre for Geocomputation, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Co. Kildare W23 F2K8, Ireland
3
Teagasc, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark, Co. Cork P61 C996, Ireland
4
Department of Process, Energy and Transport Engineering, Cork Institute of Technology, Cork T12 P928, Ireland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(15), 1835; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11151835
Received: 18 July 2019 / Revised: 2 August 2019 / Accepted: 3 August 2019 / Published: 6 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Abstract

Hyperspectral and multispectral imagery have been demonstrated to have a considerable potential for near real-time monitoring and mapping of grass quality indicators. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of remote sensing techniques for quantification of aboveground grass biomass (BM) and crude protein (CP) in a temperate European climate such as Ireland. The experiment was conducted on 64 plots and 53 paddocks with varying quantities of nitrogen applied. Hyperspectral imagery (HSI) and multispectral imagery (MSI) were analyzed to develop the prediction models. The MSI data used in this study were captured using an unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) and the satellite Sentinel-2, while the HSI data were obtained using a handheld hyperspectral camera. The prediction models were developed using partial least squares regression (PLSR) and stepwise multi-linear regression (MLR). Eventually, the spatial distribution of grass biomass over plots and paddocks was mapped to assess the within-field variability of grass quality metrics. An excellent accuracy was achieved for the prediction of BM and CP using HSI (RPD > 2.5 and R2 > 0.8), and a good accuracy was obtained via MSI-UAV (2 < RPD < 2.5 and R2 > 0.7) for the grass quality indicators. The accuracy of the models calculated using MSI-Sentinel-2 was reasonable for BM prediction and insufficient for CP estimation. The red-edge range of the wavelengths showed the maximum impact on the predictability of grass BM, and the NIR range had the greatest influence on the estimation of grass CP. Both the PLSR and MLR techniques were found to be sufficiently robust for spectral modelling of aboveground BM and CP. The PLSR yielded a slightly better model than MLR. This study suggested that remote sensing techniques can be used as a rapid and reliable approach for near real-time quantitative assessment of fresh grass quality under a temperate European climate. View Full-Text
Keywords: hyperspectral; multispectral; fertilization; grass biomass; crude protein hyperspectral; multispectral; fertilization; grass biomass; crude protein
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Askari, M.S.; McCarthy, T.; Magee, A.; Murphy, D.J. Evaluation of Grass Quality under Different Soil Management Scenarios Using Remote Sensing Techniques. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 1835.

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