Use of optical sensor for in-season nitrogen management and grain yield prediction in maize

Bandhu Raj Baral, Parbati Adhikari


Precision agriculture technologies have developed optical sensors which can determine plant’s normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI).To evaluate the relationship between maize grain yield and early season NDVI readings, an experiment was conducted at farm land of National Maize Research Program, Rampur, Chitwan during winter season of 2012. Eight different levels of N 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, 180 and 210 kg N/ha were applied for hybrid maize RML 32 × RML 17 to study grain yield response and NDVI measurement. Periodic NDVI was measured at 10 days interval from 55 days after sowing (DAS) to 115 DAS by using Green seeker hand held crop sensor. Periodic NDVI measurement taken at a range of growing degree days (GDD) was critical for predicting grain yield potential. Poor exponential relationship existed between NDVI from early reading measured before 208 GDD (55 DAS) and grain yield. At the 261GDD (65DAS) a strong relationship (R2 = 0.70) was achieved between NDVI and grain yield. Later sensor measurements after 571 GDD (95DAS) failed to distinguish variation in green biomass as a result of canopy closure. N level had significantly influenced on NDVI reading, measured grain yield, calculated in season estimated yield (INSEY), predicted yield with added N (YPN), response index (RI) and grain N demand. Measuring NDVI reading by GDD (261–571 GDD) allow a practical window of opportunity for side dress N applications. This study showed that yield potential in maize could be accurately predicted in season with NDVI measured with the Green Seeker crop sensor.

Journal of Maize Research and Development (2015) 1(1):64-70



NDVI, GDD, response index, INSEY, grain N demand

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