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Use of active optical sensor in cereal crops

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Fabricio Pinheiro Povh
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: Piracicaba.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALA/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Jose Paulo Molin; Jose Alexandre Melo Dematte; Volnei Pauletti
Advisor: Jose Paulo Molin

The yield of a crop, until recently was the main objective of a farm, and today it begins to share importance with multiple objectives. The environmental impact of crops and productive systems, product quality, low production costs and, consequently the increase of the nitrogen use efficiency are already part of these objectives. New technologies have been developed constantly to optimize the fertilizer management in agriculture. Optical sensors are one of these tools that have potential to contribute to the nitrogen management. This work consisted in evaluating the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) behavior, generated by the terrestrial active optical sensor GreenSeeker Hand HeldTM (NTech Industries, Inc., Ukiah, CA) in corn, wheat, triticale and barley crops, under different conditions. This sensor emits active radiation in two wavelengths centered in the red (660 nm) and in the near infrared (770 nm). In the first stage several tests were conducted changing soil classes, nitrogen rates, nitrogen sources and varieties. Statistical analysis of the data was made by regression, correlation and Tukey test. It was noticed that the NDVI has more potential use in wheat, triticale and barley crops, because they produce less biomass. In corn, the NDVI saturated even under low nitrogen rates, due to its high level of biomass. One possibility is to substitute the red band for the green band, or test other vegetation indices that have a correlation more linear with the crop biomass. The second stage had the objective of showing the NDVI spatial variability in wheat and corn crops, and apply nitrogen on variable rates in wheat, based on the readings of the same active optical sensor. Field experiments in strips, with different nitrogen rates, were conducted and the data were collected with the sensor connected to a GPS receiver, allowing the generation of NDVI maps. For wheat, due its higher correlation between biomass and NDVI than the corn, it is possible to visually identify the strips with different nitrogen rates. However, it is also notable the variability inside each strip, showing that the nitrogen absorption and use by the crop is not uniform. For the variable rate application, an experiment was established with 120 kg ha-1 strips, used as reference to the sensor calibration, and strips with 18,4 and 52,4 kg ha-1 of nitrogen, that were complemented based on the active optical sensor readings. The results show that even with a considerable economy of nitrogen fertilizer consume, using the variable rate technology, yields were similar, i.e., the yield of the treatments with variable rate application were not different statistically of the treatments with uniform rate application. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 06/02322-1 - Nitrogen management based on active optical sensor readings in corn and wheat crops
Grantee:Fabrício Pinheiro Povh
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Master