African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6668

Full Length Research Paper

Sensor-based algorithms to improve barley nitrogen efficiency in Queensland

Paul Theophile Epee Misse
  • Paul Theophile Epee Misse
  • The University of Queensland, Brisbane St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia.
  • Google Scholar
Madan Gupta
  • Madan Gupta
  • The University of Queensland, Brisbane St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 17 July 2017
  •  Accepted: 29 August 2017
  •  Published: 19 July 2018

Abstract

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.