Winter Wheat Crop Reflectance and Nitrogen Sufficiency Index Values are Influenced by Nitrogen and Water Stress

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In-season N applications to winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) may increase profits and improve N fertilizer accuracy. Th e objectives of this experiment were to determine the impact of N and water stress on crop reflectance and N suffi ciency index (SI) values. Th e experiment contained five N rates, two water treatments, and four blocks. Crop reflectance was measured at the stem extension and fl ag leaf growth stages, sufficiency index (SI)-NDVIwf was ratio between the underfertilized normalized difference vegetation index value {NDVI = [near infrared (NIR)-red]/[NIR+red]} and the NDVI value from well fertilized and well watered treatments, while SI-NDVImz was ratio between underfertilized NDVI values and NDVI values from well fertilized plots within a water stress treatment. Yield losses due to water and N stress were determined using 13C isotopic discrimination. Th is research shows that: (i) at the stem extension and flag leaf growth stages, water stress and N stress increased, green, red, and red-edge reflectance and reduced NDVI values (ii) following the economic optimum nitrogen rate (EONR) produced grain with greater than 120 g kg–1 protein and <10 min stability; (iii) at stem elongation and flag leaf, N fertilizer induced yield gains had a stronger relationship with SI-NDVImz (stem extension, r = 0.49*; fl ag leaf, r = 0.51**) than SI-NDVIwf (stem extension, r = 0.29; flag leaf, r = 0.33); and (iv) SI-NDVImz had greater fertilizer recommendation accuracy than SI-NDVIwf. These findings suggest that in wheat production, SI should be referenced to well fertilized areas within a management zone.

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Agronomy Journal





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