Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Crop Sci. 42:165–171 (2002). JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2002. Permission to use.


Current technologies for measuring plant water status are limited, while recently remote sensing techniques for estimating N status have increased with limited research on the interaction between the two stresses. Because plant water status methods are time-consuming and require numerous observations to characterize a field, managers could benefit from remote sensing techniques to assist in irrigation and N management decisions. A 2-yr experiment was initiated to determine specific wavelengths and/or combinations of wavelengths indicative of water stress and N deficiencies, and to evaluate these wavelengths for estimating in-season biomass and corn (Zea mays L.) grain yield. The experiment was a split-plot design with three replications. The treatment structure had five N rates (0, 45, 90, 134, and 269 kg N ha-1 ) and three water treatments [dryland, 0.5 evapo-transpiration (ET), and full ET].Canopy spectral radiance measurements (350–2500 nm) were taken at various growth stages (V6–V7, V13–V16, and V14–R1). Specific wavelengths for estimating crop biomass, N concentration, grain yield, and chlorophyll meter readings changed with growth stage and sampling date. Changes in total N and biomass in the presence of a water stress were estimated using near-infrared (NIR) reflectance and the water absorption bands. Reflectance in the green and NIR regions were used to estimate total N and biomass without water stress. Reflectance at 510, 705, and 1135 nm were found for estimating chlorophyll meter readings regardless of year or sampling date.