Sufficiency index for defining nitrogen recommendation in brachiaria grass pasture


  • Flora Maria de Melo Villar Universidade Federal de Viçosa
  • Francisco de Assis de Carvalho Pinto Universidade Federal de Viçosa
  • Dilermando Miranda da Fonseca Universidade Federal de Viçosa
  • Daniel Marçal de Queiroz Universidade Federal de Viçosa
  • Gracielly Ribeiro de Alcântara Instituto Federal do Norte de Minas



portable chlorophyll meter, precision farming, remote sensing, spectral vegetation index, variable rate technology


In addition to be absorbed by plants, nitrogen (N) applied in the soil is subject to loss by leaching, volatilization and microorganism immobilization. The spectral characteristics of plants have been used for defining the N fertilizer rate. However, it has been a challenge to translate the sensor readings into the N rate. Thus, the aim of the present study was to evaluate three spectral variables to recommend variable rate N fertilization in Brachiaria decumbens using the Nitrogen Sufficiency Index (NSI). The five treatments consisted of a control plot (without nitrogen application), a reference plot with a fixed N rate of 150 kg ha-1 and three different spectral readings for applying N at variable rates. In the variable rate plots were initially applied a N rate equal to 50% of that in the reference plot, and the following rates were defined based on NSI. The three spectral variables were: a portable chlorophyll meter readings, Visible Atmospherically Resistant Index (VARIRedEdge) and the ratio between Modified Chlorophyll Absorption Ratio Index and Optimized Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (MCARI/OSAVI). The experiment was conducted in randomized block design with five replicates during three plant harvesting. The forage was harvested when the plant height was 25 cm in the reference plot. The variable rate treatments presented better nitrogen use efficiency than the fixed rate treatment. The portable chlorophyll meter was more suitable than the used vegetation indices to recommend variable N rate fertilization since their plots produced the same dry biomass matter as in the fixed rate plot with less amount of fertilizer applied.


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How to Cite

VILLAR, F.M. de M., PINTO, F. de A. de C., FONSECA, D.M. da, QUEIROZ, D.M. de and ALCÂNTARA, G.R. de, 2015. Sufficiency index for defining nitrogen recommendation in brachiaria grass pasture . Bioscience Journal [online], vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 1333–1340. [Accessed28 November 2022]. DOI 10.14393/BJ-v31n5a2015-26338. Available from:



Agricultural Sciences