Red light based broadband vegetation indices are widely applied to derive aerial nitrogen (N) status parameters. With the advance of growth stages, however, crop canopy structure and aerial biomass will vary greatly, which negatively influences the relationships between spectral indices and the crop canopy N status. The current research aimed to assess the performance of red edge based vegetation indices, derived from simulated broadband WorldView-2 data, to remotely sense aerial N concentration and uptake in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Six experiments with different N rates for five German cultivars and four Chinese cultivars of winter wheat were conducted in southeast Germany and in the North China Plain from 2007 to 2010. The results showed that aerial biomass strongly affected the relationships between broadband vegetation indices and aerial N concentration before the heading stage. Normalising by using the planar domain index approach significantly improved the prediction power of red edge dependent broadband vegetation indices in estimating aerial N status. The two-dimensional broadband canopy chlorophyll content index (CCCI) and a newly proposed nitrogen planar domain index (NPDI) involving the WorldView-2 satellite red edge region were found to be more stable and better predictors than traditional red light based broadband vegetation indices in estimating aerial N concentration after the heading stage and in assessing aerial N uptake before the heading stage. The findings from this study may be useful for managing the application of N fertiliser for winter wheat in Zadoks growth stages 30-55 and in indirectly monitoring aerial N content in Zadoks growth stages 59-75 at landscape scales.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (Project No. FKZ 0330800A)
- Nitrogen fertilisation
- Red edge
- Vegetation indices