Precision Agriculture

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 332–349 | Cite as

Crop water status assessment in controlled environment using crop reflectance and temperature measurements

  • A. Elvanidi
  • N. Katsoulas
  • T. Bartzanas
  • K. P. Ferentinos
  • C. KittasEmail author


Crop water status is an important parameter for plant growth and yield performance in greenhouses. Thus, early detection of water stress is essential for efficient crop management. The dynamic response of plants to changes of their environment is called ‘speaking plant’ and multisensory platforms for remote sensing measurements offer the possibility to monitor in real-time the crop health status without affecting the crop and environmental conditions. Therefore, aim of this work was to use crop reflectance and temperature measurements acquired remotely for crop water status assessment. Two different irrigation treatments were imposed in tomato plants grown in slabs filed with perlite, namely tomato plants under no irrigation for a certain period; and well-watered plants. The plants were grown in a controlled growth chamber and measurements were carried out during August and September of 2014. Crop reflectance measurements were carried out by two types of sensors: (i) a multispectral camera measuring the radiation reflected in three spectral bands centred between 590–680, 690–830 and 830–1000 nm regions, and (ii) a spectroradiometer measuring the leaf reflected radiation from 350 to 2500 nm. Based on the above measurements several crop indices were calculated. The results showed that crop reflectance increased due to water deficit with the detected reflectance increase being significant about 8 h following irrigation withholding. The results of a first derivative analysis on the reflectance data showed that the spectral regions centred at 490–510, 530–560, 660–670 and 730–760 nm could be used for crop status monitoring. In addition, the results of the present study point out that sphotochemical reflectance index, modified red simple ratio index and modified ratio normalized difference vegetation index could be used as an indicator of plant water stress, since their values were correlated well with the substrate water content and the crop water stress index; the last being extensively used for crop water status assessment in greenhouses and open field. Thus, it could be concluded that reflectance and crop temperature measurements might be combined to provide alarm signals when crop water status reaches critical levels for optimal plant growth.


Remote sensing Speaking plant approach Multispectral camera Crop water stress index 



This work has been co-financed by the European Union and Greek National Funds through the Operational Program “Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF)—ARISTEIA “GreenSense” project. It was also supported by the EU Seventh Framework Programme, within the project “Smart Controlled Environment Agriculture Systems—Smart-CEA”, contract number (PIRSES-GA-2010-269240), which is carried out under the Marie Curie Actions: People—International Research Staff Exchange Scheme. Funding was provided by General Secretariat for Research and Technology (14289/12.12.2013).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Elvanidi
    • 1
    • 2
  • N. Katsoulas
    • 1
    • 2
  • T. Bartzanas
    • 2
  • K. P. Ferentinos
    • 2
  • C. Kittas
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Agriculture Crop Production and Rural EnvironmentUniversity of ThessalyVólosGreece
  2. 2.Centre for Research and Technology HellasInstitute for Research and Technology of ThessalyVólosGreece

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