Optimizing top dresseing nitrogen fertilization using venμs and sentinel‐2 l1 data

David J. Bonfil, Yaron Michael, Shilo Shiff, Itamar M. Lensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations
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Environmental and economic constraints are forcing farmers to be more precise in the rates and timing of nitrogen (N) fertilizer application to wheat. In practice, N is frequently applied without knowledge of the precise amount needed or the likelihood of significant protein enhance-ment. The objective of this study was to help farmers optimize top dress N application by adopting the use of within‐field reference N strips. We developed an assisting app on the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform to map the spatial variability of four different vegetation indices (VIs) in each field by calculating the mean VI, masking extreme values (three standard deviations, 3σ) of each field, and presenting the anomaly as a deviation of ±σ and ±2σ or deviation of percentage. VIs based on red‐edge bands (REIP, NDRE, ICCI) were very useful for the detection of wheat above ground N uptake and in‐field anomalies. VENμS high temporal and spatial resolutions provide advantages over Sentinel‐2 in monitoring agricultural fields during the growing season, representing the within‐field variations and for decision making, but the spatial coverage and accessibility of Senti-nel‐2 data are much better. Sentinel‐2 data is already available on the GEE platform and was found to be of much help for the farmers in optimizing topdressing N application to wheat, applying it only where it will increase grain yield and/or grain quality. Therefore, the GEE anomaly app can be used for top‐N dressing application decisions. Nevertheless, there are some issues that must be tested, and more research is required. To conclude, satellite images can be used in the GEE platform for anomaly detection, rendering results within a few seconds. The ability to use L1 VENμS or Sen-tinel‐2 data without atmospheric correction through GEE opens the opportunity to use these data for several applications by farmers and others.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3934
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology, and Space, Grant Number 3‐14675.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • GEE
  • Google Earth Engine
  • Nitrogen
  • Sentinel‐2
  • Topdress
  • Venμs
  • Yield
  • wheat


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