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Integration of remote sensing and field observations in evaluating DSSAT model for estimating maize and soybean growth and yield in Maryland, USA

June 1, 2023
Crop models are useful for evaluating crop growth and yield at the field and regional scales, but their applications and accuracies are restricted by input data availability and quality. To overcome difficulties inherent to crop modeling, input data can be enhanced by the incorporation of remotely sensed and field observations into crop growth models. This approach has been recognized to be an important way to monitor crop growth conditions and to predict yield at the field and regional scale. In recent years, satellite remote sensing has provided high-temporal and high-spatial-resolution data that allow for generating continuous time series of biophysical parameters such as vegetation indices, leaf area index, and phenology. The objectives of this study were to use remote sensing along with field observations as inputs to the Decision Support System for Agro-Technology (DSSAT) model to estimate soybean and maize growth and yield. The study used phenology and leaf area index (LAI) data derived from Planet Fusion (daily, 3 m) satellite imagery along with field observation data on crop growth stage, LAI and yield collected at the United State Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), Beltsville, Maryland. For maize, a total of 17 treatments (site years) were used (ten treatments for model calibration and seven treatments for validation), while for soybean (maturity groups three and four), a total of 18 treatments were used (nine for calibration and nine for validation). The calibrated model was tested against an independent, multi-location and multi-year set of phenology and yield data (2017–2020) from BARC fields. The model accurately simulated maize and soybean days to flowering and maturity and produced reasonable yield estimates for most fields and years. Model run for independent locations and years produced good results for phenology and yields for both maize and soybean, as indicated by index of agreement (d) values ranging from 0.65 to 0.93 and normalized root-mean-squared error values ranging from 1 to 20%, except for soybean maturity group four. Overall, model performances with respect to phenology and grain yield for maize and soybean were good and consistent with other DSSAT evaluation studies. The inclusion of remote sensing along with field observations in crop-growth model inputs can provide an effective approach for assessing crop conditions, even in regions lacking ground data.

Publication Year 2023
Title Integration of remote sensing and field observations in evaluating DSSAT model for estimating maize and soybean growth and yield in Maryland, USA
DOI 10.3390/agronomy13061540
Authors Uvirkaa Akumaga, Feng Gao, Martha Anderson, Wayne Dulaney, Rasmus Houborg, Andy Russ, W. Dean Hively
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Agronomy Journal
Index ID 70251137
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Geographic Science Center; Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center