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Remote Sens. 2019, 11(7), 873;

Monitoring the Effects of Water Stress in Cotton Using the Green Red Vegetation Index and Red Edge Ratio

Centre for Regional and Rural Futures (CeRRF), Deakin University, Griffith, NSW 2680, Australia
School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2350, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 26 March 2019 / Accepted: 8 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Crop Water Management)
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The main objective of this work was to study the feasibility of using the green red vegetation index (GRVI) and the red edge ratio (RE/R) obtained from UAS imagery for monitoring the effects of soil water deficit and for predicting fibre quality in a surface-irrigated cotton crop. The performance of these indices to track the effects of water stress on cotton was compared to that of the normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) and crop water stress index (CWSI). The study was conducted during two consecutive seasons on a commercial farm where three irrigation frequencies and two nitrogen rates were being tested. High-resolution multispectral images of the site were acquired on four dates in 2017 and six dates in 2018, encompassing a range of matric potential values. Leaf stomatal conductance was also measured at the image acquisition times. At harvest, lint yield and fibre quality (micronaire) were determined for each treatment. Results showed that within each year, the N rates tested (> 180 kg N ha−1) did not have a statistically significant effect on the spectral indices. Larger intervals between irrigations in the less frequently irrigated treatments led to an increase (p < 0.05) in the CWSI and a reduction (p < 0.05) in the GRVI, RE/R, and to a lesser extent in the NDVI. A statistically significant and good correlation was observed between the GRVI and RE/R with soil matric potential and stomatal conductance at specific dates. The GRVI and RE/R were in accordance with the soil and plant water status when plants experienced a mild level of water stress. In most of the cases, the GRVI and RE/R displayed long-term effects of the water stress on plants, thus hampering their use for determinations of the actual soil and plant water status. The NDVI was a better predictor of lint yield than the GRVI and RE/R. However, both GRVI and RE/R correlated well (p < 0.01) with micronaire in both years of study and were better predictors of micronaire than the NDVI. This research presents the GRVI and RE/R as good predictors of fibre quality with potential to be used from satellite platforms. This would provide cotton producers the possibility of designing specific harvesting plans in the case that large fibre quality variability was expected to avoid discount prices. Further research is needed to evaluate the capability of these indices obtained from satellite platforms and to study whether these results obtained for cotton can be extrapolated to other crops. View Full-Text
Keywords: optical remote sensing; unmanned aerial vehicle; soil matric potential; stomatal conductance; vegetation indices; irrigation optical remote sensing; unmanned aerial vehicle; soil matric potential; stomatal conductance; vegetation indices; irrigation

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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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Ballester, C.; Brinkhoff, J.; Quayle, W.C.; Hornbuckle, J. Monitoring the Effects of Water Stress in Cotton Using the Green Red Vegetation Index and Red Edge Ratio. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 873.

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