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Author: Viña, Andrés and Gitelson, Anatoly A. and Rundquist, Donald C. and Keydan, Galina and Leavitt, Bryan and Schepers, James

Monitoring Maize (Zea mays L.) Phenology with Remote Sensing

Journal: Agronomy Journal
Volume: 96
Year: 2004
Pages: 1136--1149


Monitoring crop phenology is required for understanding intra- ductive (from silking to physiological maturity according and interannual variations of agroecosystems, as well as for improving to the degree of kernel development, designated by Rn) yield prediction models. The objective of this paper is to remotely stages (Hanway, 1971; Ritchie et al., 1992). Within these evaluate the phenological development of maize (Zea mays L.) in stages, several transitions are important in terms of manterms of both biomass accumulation and reproductive organ appear- agement by producers: (i) crop emergence (date of onset ance. Maize phenology wasmonitored by means of the recently devel- of photosynthetic activity, termed VE), (ii) tasseling oped visible atmospherically resistant indices, derived from spectral (date when maximum leaf area is attained and maize reflectance data. Visible atmospherically resistant indices provided tassels emerge, termed VT), and (iii) initiation of senes- significant information for crop phenology monitoring as they allowed us to detect: (i) changes due to biomass accumulation, (ii) changes cence (date at which green leaf area visibly begins to induced by the appearance and development of reproductive organs, decrease). To maximize yields, the plants need, on a and (iii) the onset of senescence, earlier than widely used vegetation per-stage basis, to optimize the supply of nutrients and indices. Visible atmospherically resistant indices allowed the identifi- to be maintained under favorable environmental condication of the timing of phenological transitions that are related to the tions (i.e., temperature, solar radiation, soil moisture). maize physiological development. They also allowed identification of Unfavorable conditions occurring between crop emerthe onset of the grain-fill period, which is important since maximum gence and leaf development will limit the size of the yield potential of maize plants depends on optimal environmental leaves and thus the amount of photosynthetic biomass conditions during this period.

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