The low efficiency of nitrogen (N) fertilizers impels the innovation of current N management strategies in cereal production. Site specific N management is an emerging field providing novel alternatives to current nutrient management practices through canopy sensing. Barley N use efficiency can be enhanced with GreenSeeker proximal sensors, whose optimal utilization requires algorithms. The design of such algorithms required four N rates (0, 50, 100 and 150 kg N ha-1) and in-season sensing of barley canopy reflectance using a handheld GreenSeeker sensor as well as crop N analysis. The N rates produced enough variability in yields, N uptake and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) readings together with strong determination coefficients between in-season NDVI values on one hand and on the other hand in-season N uptake (R2=0.68, p<0.001), forage yield (R2=0.84, p<0.001), forage N uptake at harvest (R2 = 0.65, p<0.001), grain yields (R2=0.88, p<0.001), and grain N uptake (R2 = 0.84, p<0.001). These factors enabled the development of in-season N fertilizer algorithms for barley grain and forage production. The built algorithms will enable farmers using GreenSeeker sensors to better manage barley N fertilization with positive outcomes for their financial returns and environmental contamination.
Key words: Barley canopy reflectance, nitrogen fertilizer algorithm, GreenSeeker, N use efficiency, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), nitrogen uptake.
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