Using remote sensing in soybean breeding: estimating soybean grain yield and soybean cyst nematode populations



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Kansas State University


Remote sensing technologies might serve as indirect selection tools to improve phenotyping to differentiate genotypes for yield in soybean breeding program as well as the assessment of soybean cyst nematode (SCN), Heterodera glycines. The objective of these studies were to: i) investigate potential use of spectral reflectance indices (SRIs) and canopy temperature (CT) as screening tools for soybean grain yield in an elite, segregating population; ii) determine the most appropriate growth stage(s) to measure SRI’s for predicting grain yield; and iii) estimate SCN population density among and within soybean cultivars utilizing canopy spectral reflectance and canopy temperature. Experiment 1 was conducted at four environments (three irrigated and one rain-fed) in Manhattan, KS in 2012 and 2013. Each environment evaluated 48 F4- derived lines. In experiment 2, two SCN resistant cultivars and two susceptible cultivars were grown in three SCN infested field in Northeast KS, in 2012 and 2013. Initial (Pi) and final SCN soil population (Pf) densities were obtained. Analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) revealed that the green normalized vegetation index (GNDVI) was the best predictive index for yield compared to other SRI’s and differentiated genotype performance across a range of reproductive growth stages. CT did not differentiate genotypes across environments. In experiment 2, relationships between GNDVI, reflectance at single wavelengths (675 and 810 nm) and CT with Pf were not consistent across cultivars or environments. Sudden death syndrome (SDS) may have confounded the relationships between remote sensing data and Pf. Therefore, it would be difficult to assess SCN populations using remote sensing based on these results.



Remote sensing, High throughput phenotyping, Soybean, Canopy temperature, Spectral reflectance indices

Graduation Month



Master of Science


Department of Agronomy

Major Professor

William T. Schapaugh Jr