Using UAV to Identify the Optimal Vegetation Index for Yield Prediction of Oil Seed Rape (Brassica napus L.) at the Flowering Stage
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Suitability of the vegetation indices of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), blue normalized difference vegetation index (BNDVI), and normalized difference yellowness index (NDYI) obtained by means of UAV at the flowering stage of oil seed rape for the prediction of seed yield and usability of these vegetation indices in the identification of anomalies in the condition of the flowering growth were verified based on the regression analysis. Correlation analysis was performed to find the degree of yield dependence on the values of NDVI, BNDVI, and NDYI indices, which revealed a strong, significant linear positive dependence of seed yield on BNDVI (R = 0.98) and NDYI (R = 0.95). The level of correlation between the NDVI index and the seed yield was weaker (R = 0.70) than the others. Regression analysis was performed for a closer determination of the functional dependence of NDVI, BNDVI, and NDYI indices and the yield of seeds. Coefficients of determination in the linear regression model of NDVI, BNDVI, and NDYI indices reached the following values: R2 = 0.48 (NDVI), R2 = 0.95 (BNDVI), and R2 = 0.90 (NDYI). Thus, it was shown that increased density of yellow flowers decreased the relationship between NDVI and crop yield. The NDVI index is not appropriate for assessing growth conditions and prediction of yields at the flowering stage of oil seed rape. High accuracy of yield prediction was achieved with the use of BNDVI and NDYI. The performed analysis of NDVI, BNDVI, and NDYI demonstrated that particularly the BNDVI and NDYI indices can be used to identify problems in the development of oil seed rape growth at the stage of flowering, for their precise localization, and hence to targeted and effective remedial measures in line with the principles of precision agriculture.