Estimation of Leaf Nitrogen Concentration of Winter Wheat Using UAV-Based RGB Imagery

  • Qinglin Niu
  • Haikuan Feng
  • Changchun Li
  • Guijun YangEmail author
  • Yuanyuan Fu
  • Zhenhai Li
  • Haojie Pei
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 546)


Leaf nitrogen concentration (LNC) of winter wheat can reflect its nitrogen (N) status. Rapid, non-destructive and accurate monitoring of LNC of winter wheat has important practical applications in monitoring N nutrition and fertilizing management. The experimental site of winter wheat was located at Xiaotangshan National Demonstration Base of Precision Agricultural Research located in Changping District, Beijing, China. High spatial resolution digital images of the winter wheat were acquired using a low-cost unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with digital camera system at three key growth stages of booting, flowering and filling during April to June in 2015. Firstly, the acquired UAV digital images were mosaicked to generate a Digital Orthophoto Map (DOM) of the entire experimental site and 15 digital image variables were constructed. Then, based on the ground measured data onto LNC and digital image variables derived from the DOM for 48 sampling plots of winter wheat, linear and stepwise regression models were constructed for estimating LNC. Finally, the optimum model for estimating LNC was screened out by comprehensively considering the coefficient of determination (R2), the root mean square error (RMSE), the normalized root mean square error (nRMSE) and the simplicity of model calibrating and validating. The experimental results showed that the linear regression model of r/b that was one of the digital image variables for estimating LNC had the best accuracy with the model’s calibration and validation of R2, RMSE and nRMSE were 0.76, 0.40, 11.97% and 0.69, 0.43, 13.02%, respectively. The results suggest that it is feasible to estimate LNC of winter wheat based on the DOM acquired by UAV remote sensing platform carrying a low-cost, high-resolution digital camera, which can rapidly and non-destructively obtains the LNC of winter wheat experiment site and provide a quick and low-cost method for monitoring N nutrition and fertilizing management.


Winter wheat Leaf nitrogen concentration (LNC) Remote sensing Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Digital imagery High-resolution 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qinglin Niu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Haikuan Feng
    • 2
    • 3
  • Changchun Li
    • 1
  • Guijun Yang
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Yuanyuan Fu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Zhenhai Li
    • 2
    • 3
  • Haojie Pei
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Surveying and Land Information EngineeringHenan Polytechnic UniversityJiaozuoChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Quantitative Remote Sensing in Agriculture P.R. ChinaBeijing Research Center for Information Technology in AgricultureBeijingChina
  3. 3.National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in AgricultureBeijingChina

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