The delineation of nitrogen management units for corn (Zea mays L.) using aerial images of bare soil
This thesis is an investigation of the potential to use aerial imagery to identify nitrogen (N) management units for variable-rate fertilizer N application (VRNA). Successful VRNA requires that N management units be properly identified such that the variability in yield response to applied N, and therefore fertilizer N requirement, is adequately characterized. Relationships between the imagery and measures of potential soil N availability and crop N requirement were evaluated to determine whether variation in yield response to applied N may be identified. An assessment of a direct relationship between the imagery and fertilizer N requirement was completed, and the use of image classification to identify N management units was explored. The results found suggest that the imagery may not be used to properly characterize the variability in fertilizer N requirement. However, they also suggest that there remains the potential to identify where yield response to applied N varies using aerial imagery.