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Title: Estimation of Productivity in Dryland Mediterranean Pastures: Long-Term Field Tests to Calibration and Validation of the Grassmaster II Probe
Authors: Serrano, João
Shahidian, S.
Moral, F.
Carvajal-Ramírez, F.
Marques da Silva, J.
Editors: MDPI
Keywords: capacitance probe
pasture productivity
dryland pastures
prediction models
Issue Date: Apr-2020
Publisher: MDPI
Citation: Serrano, J., Shahidian, S., Moral, F., Carvajal-Ramírez, F., Marques da Silva, J. (2020). Estimation of productivity in dryland Mediterranean pastures: long-term field tests to calibration and validation of the
Abstract: The estimation of pasture productivity is of great interest for the management of animal grazing. The standard method of assessing pasture mass requires great effort and expense to collect enough samples to accurately represent a pasture. This work presents the results of a long-term study to calibrate a Grassmaster II capacitance probe to estimate pasture productivity in two phases: (i) the calibration phase (2007–2018), which included measurements in 1411 sampling points in three parcels; and (ii) the validation phase (2019), which included measurements in 216 sampling points in eight parcels. A regression analysis was performed between the capacitance (CMR) measured by the probe and values of pasture green matter and dry matter (respectively, GM and DM, in kg ha−1). The results showed significant correlations between GM and CMR and between DM and CMR, especially in the early stages of pasture growth cycle. The analysis of the data grouped by classes of pasture moisture content (PMC) shows higher correlation coefficients for PMC content >80% (r = 0.775; p < 0.01; RMSE = 4806 kg ha−1 and CVRMSE = 28.1% for GM; r = 0.750; p < 0.01; RMSE = 763 kg ha−1 and CVRMSE = 29.7% for DM), with a clear tendency for the accuracy to decrease when the pasture vegetative cycle advances and, consequently, the PMC decreases. The validation of calibration equations when PMC > 80% showed a good approximation between GM or DM measured and GM or DM predicted (r = 0.959; p < 0.01; RMSE = 3191 kg ha−1; CVRMSE = 23.6% for GM; r = 0.953; p <0.01;RMSE = 647 kg ha−1 and CVRMSE = 27.3% for DM). It can be concluded that (i) the capacitance probe is an expedient tool that can enable the farm manager to estimate pasture productivity with acceptable accuracy and support the decision-making process in the management of dryland pastures; (ii) the more favorable period for the use of this probe in dryland pastures in a Mediterranean climate, such as the Portuguese Alentejo, coincides with the end of winter and beginning of spring (February–March), corresponding to PMC > 80%.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:ERU - Publicações - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais Com Arbitragem Científica
MED - Publicações - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais Com Arbitragem Científica

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