Retrieval of the canopy chlorophyll content from Sentinel-2 spectral bands to estimate nitrogen uptake in intensive winter wheat cropping systems


Delloye, Cindy; Weiss, Marie; Defourny, Pierre


Authors : Delloye, Cindy; Weiss, Marie; Defourny, Pierre | Abstract :

One of the most common approaches to reducing the environmental impact of nitrogen (N) fertilisation in intensive agrosystems is to adjust the N input of the crop requirement. This adjustment is frequently related to the nitrogen nutrition index (NNI) based on the concepts of the critical and actual N absorbed (kg/ha) in the crop canopy (respectively, N-c and CNC). Accurate estimation of the N-c and CNC at the field scale over large areas based on freely available satellite imagery is thus a key issue to address. Relying on a large dataset of farmers’ fields, this study highlights the high correlation (R-2 = 0.90) between the wheat CNC and canopy chlorophyll content (CCC) retrieved from Sentinel-2 (S2) with an Artificial Neural Network (ANN). The estimation is related to errors of 4 and 21 kg/ha (depending on the growing stage), which is a promising result for evaluating the NNI. There are four major outcomes from this result: (i) the importance of working at the canopy level; (ii) the independence of the relationship to the considered cultivars; (iii) the dependence of the relationship on the growing stage; and (iv) the potential to use only the 10 m S2 bands, opening the way for precision agriculture. In parallel, estimation accuracies were investigated for the three biophysical variables (BV) related to the CNC and N-c, i.e., the green area index (GAI), leaf chlorophyll content (Cab) and CCC. From this analysis, the added value of the red-edge bands for improving the estimation of the 3 BVs of interest was quantified as was the performance reduction related to the field heterogeneity.


REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT Volume: 216 Pages: 245-261 DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2018.06.037 Published: OCT 2018 Document Type:Article

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