ULTRA-HIGH SPATIAL RESOLUTION UAV-BASED IMAGERY TO PREDICT BIOMASS IN TEMPERATE GRASSLANDS
Monitoring biomass yield in grassland is of key importance to support sustainable management decisions. Especially the high spatio-temporal variety in grasslands requires rapid and cost-efficient data acquisition with a high spatial and temporal resolution. Therefore, this study aims to evaluate the comparability of UAV-based simultaneously acquired vegetation indices from a consumer-grade RGB-camera (Sony Alpha 6000) and a well-calibrated narrow-band multispectral camera (MicaSense RedEdge-M) to estimate dry matter biomass yield. The study site is an experimental grassland field in Germany with four nitrogen fertilizer levels. Biomass yield and UAV-based data for the first cut in May 2018 was analysed in this study. From the RGB-data the Plant Pigment Ratio Index (PPR) and the Normalized Green Red Difference Index (NGRDI) and from the multispectral data the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) are calculated as predictors for dry biomass yield. The NGRDI and NDVI perform moderately well with cross-validation R2 of 0.57 and 0.63 respectively, while the PPR performs better with an R2 of 0.70. These results indicate the potential of low-cost UAV-based methods for rapid assessment of grasslands.