Field crop yield prediction is crucial to grain storage, agricultural field management, and national agricultural decision-making. Currently, crop models are widely used for crop yield prediction. However, they are hampered by the uncertainty or similarity of input parameters when extrapolated to field scale. Data assimilation methods that combine crop models and remote sensing are the most effective methods for field yield estimation. In this study, the World Food Studies (WOFOST) model is used to simulate the growing process of spring maize. Common assimilation methods face some difficulties due to the scarce, constant, or similar nature of the input parameters. For example, yield spatial heterogeneity simulation, coexistence of common assimilation methods and the nutrient module, and time cost are relatively important limiting factors. To address the yield simulation problems at field scale, a simple yet effective method with fast algorithms is presented for assimilating the time-series HJ-1 A/B data into the WOFOST model in order to improve the spring maize yield simulation. First, the WOFOST model is calibrated and validated to obtain the precise mean yield. Second, the time-series leaf area index (LAI) is calculated from the HJ data using an empirical regression model. Third, some fast algorithms are developed to complete assimilation. Finally, several experiments are conducted in a large farmland (Hongxing) to evaluate the yield simulation results. In general, the results indicate that the proposed method reliably improves spring maize yield estimation in terms of spatial heterogeneity simulation ability and prediction accuracy without affecting the simulation efficiency.
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