Using spectral vegetation indices and machine learning models for predicting the yield of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) under different irrigation treatments

İRİK H. A., Ropelewska E., ÇETİN N.

Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, vol.221, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 221
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.compag.2024.109019
  • Journal Name: Computers and Electronics in Agriculture
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, Environment Index, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, INSPEC, Metadex, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Machine learning, Proximal sensing, Vegetation indices, Vis-NIR, Yield prediction
  • Ankara University Affiliated: Yes


Yield prediction is essential for production planning, resource management, and competitive advantages. The use of vegetation indices and machine learning for yield prediction is rapid, practical, and accurate and contributes to the development of digital agriculture. Although many studies have been carried out on yield estimation, the number of studies on sugar beet and irrigation applications is limited. To solve this problem, in this study yield prediction of sugar beet under different irrigation treatments was carried out using spectral reflection-based vegetation indices obtained by proximal measurements and developed machine learning models. The multilayer perceptron (MLP), random forest (RF), k-nearest (kNN), bagging (BAG), support vector regression (SVR), gaussian processes (GP), and CustomNet (CN) predictors were used in yield prediction. The irrigation treatments included I100 (application of irrigation to increase the available moisture to field capacity by around 45–50% of the water holding capacity at the root depth), I75 (75% of the water applied in the control group), I50 (50% of the water applied in the control group), and I125 (25% of the water applied in the control group). The combinations of vegetation indices were determined using Pearson correlation and principal component analysis. OSAVI, SAVI, and NDVI had the most significant influence on the yield prediction of sugar beet. Among the combinations used, the kNN1 model (including all attributes as input) showed high R2 values of 0.99 for training and 0.64 for testing. In addition, the kNN3 model (including Treatment, NDVI, NWI, and OSAVI as inputs) had R2 values of 0.97 for training and 0.65 for testing, indicating successful outcomes. However, the MLP1 and SVR1 models had lower results with test R2 values of 0.53 and 0.56, respectively. The results demonstrate the successful application of machine learning and vegetation indices for yield prediction. The proposed approaches could encourage agricultural experts and researchers in future work for yield mapping and identification.