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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Narrow-Waveband Reflectance Ratios for Remote Estimation of Nitrogen Status in Cotton


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 5, p. 1442-1452
    Received: Jan 17, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): jjread@msa-msstate.ars.usda.gov
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  1. J. J. Read *a,
  2. L. Tarpleyb,
  3. J. M. McKiniona and
  4. K. R. Reddyc
  1. a USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Crop Science Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 5367, Mississippi State, MS 39762
    b Texas A&M Research and Extension Center, 1509 Aggie Dr., Beaumont, TX 77713
    c Plant and Soil Science Dep., Box 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762


Tailoring nitrogen (N) fertilizer applications to cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in response to leaf N status may optimize N use efficiency and reduce off-site effects of excessive fertilizer use. This study compared leaf and canopy reflectance within the 350 to 950 nm range in order to identify reflectance ratios sensitive to leaf chlorophyll (Chl), and hence N status, in cotton. Plants were grown outdoors in large pots using half-strength Hoagland's (control) solution until some three-row plots received a restricted supply of N. Treatments comprised control, 20% of control N at first flower bud (square) onward; 0 and 20% of control N at first flower onward; and 0% of control N at fruit-filling onward. Despite leaf N values ranging from 51 to 19 g kg−1 across treatments and sampling dates, a weak correlation was obtained between Chl and N (r 2 = 0.32, df = 70). In general, N stress led to increased reflectance at 695 ± 2.5 nm (R 695) and decreased reflectance at R 410, and changes in leaf N were best correlated with either R 695 or R 755 in leaves and either R 410 or R 700 in canopies. The strongest associations between leaf constituent and canopy reflectance ratio were Chl vs. R 415/R 695 (r 2 = 0.72), carotenoids vs. R 415/R 685 (r 2 = 0.79), and N vs. R 415/R 710 (r 2 = 0.70). The R 415 measure appears to be a more stable spectral feature under N stress, as compared with more pronounced changes along the reflectance red edge (690–730 nm). Multiple regression identified a three-waveband canopy reflectance model that explained 80% of the variability in leaf N. Results indicate that remote sensing of N status in cotton is feasible using narrow-waveband reflectance ratios that involve the violet or blue region of the spectrum (400 to 450 nm) and the more commonly featured red-edge region.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:1442–1452.