UAV LiDAR Metrics for Monitoring Crop Height, Biomass and Nitrogen Uptake: A Case Study on a Winter Wheat Field Trial

Autoren: Christoph Hütt, Andreas Bolten, Hubert Hüging, Georg Bareth

GreenGrass   |   12.2022    peer reviewed
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Efficient monitoring of crop traits such as biomass and nitrogen uptake is essential for an optimal application of nitrogen fertilisers. However, currently available remote sensing approaches suffer from technical shortcomings, such as poor area efficiency, long postprocessing requirements and the inability to capture ground and canopy from a single acquisition. To overcome such shortcomings, LiDAR scanners mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV LiDAR) represent a promising sensor technology. To test the potential of this technology for crop monitoring, we used a RIEGL Mini-VUX-1 LiDAR scanner mounted on a DJI Matrice 600 pro UAV to acquire a point cloud from a winter wheat field trial. To analyse the UAV-derived LiDAR point cloud, we adopted LiDAR metrics, widely used for monitoring forests based on LiDAR data acquisition approaches. Of the 57 investigated UAV LiDAR metrics, the 95th percentile of the height of normalised LiDAR points was strongly correlated with manually measured crop heights (R2 = 0.88) and with crop heights derived by monitoring using a UAV system with optical imaging (R2 = 0.92). In addition, we applied existing models that employ crop height to approximate dry biomass (DBM) and nitrogen uptake. Analysis of 18 destructively sampled areas further demonstrated the high potential of the UAV LiDAR metrics for estimating crop traits. We found that the bincentile 60 and the 90th percentile of the reflectance best revealed the relevant characteristics of the vertical structure of the winter wheat plants to be used as proxies for nitrogen uptake and DBM. We conclude that UAV LiDAR metrics provide relevant characteristics not only of the vertical structure of winter wheat plants, but also of crops in general and are, therefore, promising proxies for monitoring crop traits, with potential use in the context of Precision Agriculture.

Publikationsdatum: 12.2022

Verlag: Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Quelle: PFG – Journal of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Geoinformation Science | 2 | 65-76 | 91

Publikationstyp: Journal-Artikel