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Using Worldview Satellite Imagery to Map Yield in Avocado (Persea americana): A Case Study in Bundaberg, Australia

Agricultural Remote Sensing Team, Precision Agriculture Research Group, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2350, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(12), 1223;
Received: 6 October 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 27 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
Accurate pre-harvest estimation of avocado (Persea americana cv. Haas) yield offers a range of benefits to industry and growers. Currently there is no commercial yield monitor available for avocado tree crops and the manual count method used for yield forecasting can be highly inaccurate. Remote sensing using satellite imagery offers a potential means to achieve accurate pre-harvest yield forecasting. This study evaluated the accuracies of high resolution WorldView (WV) 2 and 3 satellite imagery and targeted field sampling for the pre-harvest prediction of total fruit weight (kg·tree−1) and average fruit size (g) and for mapping the spatial distribution of these yield parameters across the orchard block. WV 2 satellite imagery was acquired over two avocado orchards during 2014, and WV3 imagery was acquired in 2016 and 2017 over these same two orchards plus an additional three orchards. Sample trees representing high, medium and low vigour zones were selected from normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) derived from the WV images and sampled for total fruit weight (kg·tree−1) and average fruit size (g) per tree. For each sample tree, spectral reflectance data was extracted from the eight band multispectral WV imagery and 18 vegetation indices (VIs) derived. Principal component analysis (PCA) and non-linear regression analysis was applied to each of the derived VIs to determine the index with the strongest relationship to the measured total fruit weight and average fruit size. For all trees measured over the three year period (2014, 2016, and 2017) a consistent positive relationship was identified between the VI using near infrared band one and the red edge band (RENDVI1) to both total fruit weight (kg·tree−1) (R2 = 0.45, 0.28, and 0.29 respectively) and average fruit size (g) (R2 = 0.56, 0.37, and 0.29 respectively) across all orchard blocks. Separate analysis of each orchard block produced higher R2 values as well as identifying different optimal VIs for each orchard block and year. This suggests orchard location and growing season are influencing the relationship of spectral reflectance to total fruit weight and average fruit size. Classified maps of avocado yield (kg·tree−1) and average fruit size per tree (g) were produced using the relationships developed for each orchard block. Using the relationships derived between the measured yield parameters and the optimal VIs, total fruit yield (kg) was calculated for each of the five sampled blocks for the 2016 and 2017 seasons and compared to actual yield at time of harvest and pre-season grower estimates. Prediction accuracies achieved for each block far exceeded those provided by the grower estimates. View Full-Text
Keywords: avocado (Persea americana); remote sensing; worldview; yield; fruit size avocado (Persea americana); remote sensing; worldview; yield; fruit size
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MDPI and ACS Style

Robson, A.; Rahman, M.M.; Muir, J. Using Worldview Satellite Imagery to Map Yield in Avocado (Persea americana): A Case Study in Bundaberg, Australia. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1223.

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