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A refined method for rapidly determining the relationship between canopy NDVI and the pasture evapotranspiration coefficient


Alam, MS and Lamb, DW and Rahman, MM, A refined method for rapidly determining the relationship between canopy NDVI and the pasture evapotranspiration coefficient, Computers and Electronics in Agriculture: An International Journal, 147 pp. 12-17. ISSN 0168-1699 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.compag.2018.02.008


The estimation of actual crop evapotranspiration (ETc) from any given land cover or crop type is important for irrigation water management and agricultural water consumption analysis. The main parameter used for such estimations is the crop coefficient (Kc). Spectral reflectance indices, such as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the crop coefficient of a specific crop or pasture canopy are important indicators of ‘vigour’, namely the photosynthetic activity and rate of biomass accumulation. Measuring both parameters simultaneously, with a view to understanding how they interact, or for creating optical, surrogate indicators of Kc is very difficult because Kc itself is difficult to measure. In this study a portable enclosed chamber was used to measure ETc of a pasture and subsequently calculated Kc from reference evapotranspiration (ETo) data derived from a nearby automatic weather station (AWS). Calibration of the chamber confirms the suitability of the device to measure the amount of water vapour produced by local plant evapotranspiration, producing a calibration factor (C) close to 1 (C = 1.02, R2 = 0.87). The coincident NDVI values were measured using a portable active optical sensor. In a test involving a pasture (Festuca arundinacea var. Dovey) at two different stages of growth in two consecutive growing seasons, the NDVI and crop coefficients were observed to be strongly correlated (R2 = 0.80 and 0.77, respectively). A polynomial regression (R2 = 0.84) was found to be the best fit for the combined, multi-temporal Kc-NDVI relationship. The main advantages of this method include the suitability of operating at a smaller scale (<1 m2), in real time and repeatability.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:evapotranspiration, proximal sensing, crop coefficient
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Agriculture, land and farm management
Research Field:Agricultural systems analysis and modelling
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Environmentally sustainable animal production
Objective Field:Management of gaseous waste from animal production (excl. greenhouse gases)
UTAS Author:Alam, MS (Mr Muhammad Shahinur Alam)
ID Code:154012
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:TIA - Research Institute
Deposited On:2022-10-23
Last Modified:2022-11-18

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