The Delineation of Agricultural Management Zones with High Resolution Remotely Sensed Data

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Quickbird imagery, management zone (MZ), optimized soil-adjusted vegetation index (OSAVI), winter wheat

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Remote sensing (RS) techniques have been widely considered to be a promising source of information for land management decisions. The objective of this study was to develop and compare different methods of delineating management zones (MZs) in a field of winter wheat. Soil and yield samples were collected, and five main crop nutrients were analyzed: total nitrogen (TN), nitrate nitrogen (NN), available phosphorus (AP), extractable potassium (EP) and organic matter (OM). At the wheat heading stage, a scene of Quickbird imagery was acquired and processed, and the optimized soil-adjusted vegetation index (OSAVI) was determined. A fuzzy k-means clustering algorithm was used to define MZs, along with fuzzy performance index (FPI), and modified partition entropy (MPE) for determining the optimal number of clusters. The results showed that the optimal number of MZs for the present study area was three. The MZs were delineated in three ways; based on soil and yield data, crop RS information and the combination of soil, yield and RS information. The evaluation of each set of MZs showed that the three methods of delineating zones can all decrease the variance of the crop nutrients, wheat spectral parameters and yield within the different zones. Considering the consistent relationship between the crop nutrients, wheat yield and the wheat spectral parameters, satellite remote sensing shows promise as a tool for assessing the variation in soil properties and yield in arable fields. The results of this study suggest that management zone delineation using RS data was reliable and feasible.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Precision Agriculture, v. 10, issue 6, p. 471-487