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Predicting Nutrient Content, Plant Health, and Site Suitability: A Case Study of Eragrostis tef

Flynn, K. Colton

Advancements in agricultural and geographic principals have led to worldwide food and agricultural globalization. Because agricultural production continues to further in global interconnectedness, confirmed precision agriculture (PA) methods are required to monitor crops in-field. PA utilizes a remote sensing method referred to as imaging spectroscopy (IS). IS is often performed using a field spectroradiometer that identifies reflectance values. The reflectance values obtained have been utilized in agricultural studies to correlate spectral reflectance to biochemical and biophysical properties. However, while there is a large body of research focusing on IS predicting these agricultural characteristics, many studies have only employed the research in a single region/location resulting in findings that may lacking reproducibility and replication (R&R) for more than a single environment. The lack of regionally comparative IS methods for nutrient and plant health analysis is important as varying geographies may prove to have an effect on IS findings. Therefore, the proposed research utilizes IS methods to predict nutrient and plant health values utilizing tef (Eragrostis tef) as a case study as its cultivated in Ethiopia and the United States. Currently, in the United States, the cultivation of tef is limited thus the United States could benefit from an exploration of site suitability analysis to aid expansion of tef cultivation in the U.S. It is through this interdisciplinary study that potential improvement to geography and remote sensing theory/methods can be obtained to achieve goals within food/agriculture geography.