Remote Sensing, Vol. 13, Pages 3682: Evaluating the Spectral Response and Yield of Soybean Following Exposure to Sublethal Rates of 2,4-D and Dicamba at Vegetative and Reproductive Growth Stages (Remote Sensing)
The commercialization of synthetic auxin-resistant crops and the commensurate increase in post-emergent auxin-mimic herbicide applications has resulted in millions of hectares of injury to sensitive soybeans in the United States since 2016. Visual yield loss estimations following auxin injury can be difficult. The goal of this research was to determine if spectral variations following auxin injury to soybean allow for more precise yield loss estimations. Identical field experiments were performed in 2018, 2019, and 2020 in Columbia, Missouri to compare the ability of established vegetative indices to differentiate between exposure levels of 2,4-D and dicamba in soybean and predict yield loss. Soybeans were planted at three timings for growth stage separation and were exposed to sublethal rates of 2,4-D and dicamba at the R2, R1, and V3 growth stages. A UAV-mounted multispectral sensor was flown over the trial 14 days after the herbicide treatments. The results of this research found that vegetative indices incorporating the red-edge wavelength were more consistent in estimating yield loss than indices comprised of only visible or NIR wavelengths. Yield loss estimations became difficult when soybean injury occurred during later reproductive stages when soybean biomass was increased. This research also determined that when injury occurs to soybean in vegetative growth stages late in the growing season there is a greater likelihood for yield loss to occur due to decreased time for recovery. The results of this research could provide direction for more objective and accurate evaluations of yield loss following synthetic auxin injury than what is currently available.