Development and validation of a model to combine NDVI and plant height for high-throughput phenotyping of Herbage Yield in a perennial ryegrass breeding program Academic Article uri icon


  • Sensor-based phenotyping technologies may offer a non-destructive, high-throughput and efficient assessment of herbage yield (HY) to replace current inefficient phenotyping methods. This paper assesses the feasibility of combining normalised difference vegetative index (NDVI) from multispectral imaging and ultrasonic sonar estimates of plant height to estimate HY of single plants in a large perennial ryegrass breeding program. For sensor calibration, fresh HY (FHY) and dry HY (DHY) were acquired destructively, and plant height was measured at four dates each in 2017 and 2018 from a selected subset of 480 plants. Global multiple linear regression models based on K-fold and random split cross-validation methods were used to evaluate the relationship between observed vs. predicted HY. The coefficient of determination (R2) = 0.67–0.68 and a root mean square error (RMSE) between 5.43–7.60 g was obtained for the validation of predicted vs. observed DHY. The mean absolute error (MAE) and mean percentage error (MPE) ranged between 3.59–5.44 g and 22–28%, respectively. For the FHY, R2 values ranged from 0.63 to 0.70, with an RMSE between 23.50 and 33 g, MAE between 15.11 and 24.34 g and MPE between ~22% and 31%. Combining NDVI and plant height is a robust method to enable high-throughput phenotyping of herbage yield in perennial ryegrass breeding programs.

publication date

  • 2019