Use of Hyperspectral Image Data Outperforms Vegetation Indices in Prediction of Maize Yield
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Hyperspectral cameras can provide reflectance data at hundreds of wavelengths. This information can be used to derive vegetation indices (VIs) that are correlated with agronomic and physiological traits. However, the data generated by hyperspectral cameras are richer than what can be summarized in a VI. Therefore, in this study, we examined whether prediction equations using hyperspectral image data can lead to better predictive performance for grain yield than what can be achieved using VIs. For hyperspectral prediction equations, we considered three estimation methods: ordinary least squares, partial least squares (a dimension reduction method), and a Bayesian shrinkage and variable selection procedure. We also examined the benefits of combining reflectance data collected at different time points. Data were generated by CIMMYT in 11 maize (Zea mays L.) yield trials conducted in 2014 under heat and drought stress. Our results indicate that using data from 62 bands leads to higher prediction accuracy than what can be achieved using individual VIs. Overall, the shrinkage and variable selection method was the best-performing one. Among the models using data from a single time point, the one using reflectance collected at 28 d after flowering gave the highest prediction accuracy. Combining image data collected at multiple time points led to an increase in prediction accuracy compared with using single-time-point data.
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