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An airborne imaging system for mapping spatial variability in sugarcane

Lebourgeois V., Bégué A., Labbé S., Roux B.. 2007. In : ISSCT 2007: 26th Congress of the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists Congress, 29 juillet - 2 août 2007, Durban, South Africa. Réduit : ISSCT, p. 1835-1841. ISSCT Congress. 26, 2007-07-29/2007-08-02, Durban (Afrique du Sud).

IN ORDER to develop a low-cost and easy to implement technical solution to map inside-field spatial variability and to explore its relationship with nutrient and water conditions of the sugarcane crop, an experiment was conducted, based on the use of an ultra-light aircraft, equipped with visible, near infrared and thermal infrared cameras. Very high resolution images were acquired above an experimental field in which irrigation and nitrogen treatments were controlled and measured for three different sugarcane varieties. The Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the surface temperature (Ts) of the experimental plots were calculated and used to interpret spatial variability in the field, in terms of growth responses to nitrogen and water treatments. The preliminary results indicate that the techniques used can produce qualitative maps showing areas of variable cane growth conditions as influenced by nutrient and water in sugarcane fields. A next step will involve combining canopy thermal and spectral properties to produce maps of the nutrient and water status of the crop, to enable the delineation of management zones inside the fields, and as a decision support tool to allow adjusting fertilisation and water applications to the actual needs of each management zone.
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