Calibration and validation of optical chlorophyll-measuring devices for use in predicting crude protein concentration in tropical grass herbage
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The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the Fieldscout CM 1000 NDVI and Yara N-Tester as easy-to-use and cost-effective tools for predicting foliar chlorophylls (a, b and total) and crude protein (CP) concentrations in herbage from three tropical grass species. Optical chlorophyll measurements were taken at three stages (4, 8 and 12 weeks) of regrowth maturity in Guinea grass (Panicum maximum) and Mulato II (Brachiaria hybrid) and at 6 and 12 weeks maturity in Paspalum spp (Paspalum atratum). Grass samples were harvested subsequent to optical measurements for laboratory analysis to determine CP and solvent-extractable chlorophylls (a, b and total) concentrations. Optical chlorophyll measurements and CP concentrations were highly correlated (Yara N-Tester: r2 = 0·77–0·89; Fieldscout CM 1000 NDVI: r2 = 0·52–0·84). Crude protein prediction models from the Yara N-Tester and Fieldscout CM 1000 NDVI accounted for 70–89% and 44–73% CP variability, respectively, in Mulato II and Guinea grass. The Yara N-tester produced more accurate and reliable CP estimates based on very high concordance correlation coefficient [CCC (0·73–0·91)] and low rMSPE, mean and regression bias. It is concluded that the Yara N-Tester produces more accurate and reliable CP estimates of tropical pastures.