Prediction of Water Stress Episodes in Fruit Trees Based on Soil and Weather Time Series Data

Journal ar
  • Volumen: 12
  • Número: 6
  • Fecha: 01 June 2022
  • ISSN: 20734395
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.3390/agronomy12061422
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: MDPI
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Water is a limited resource in arid and semi-arid regions, as is the case in the Mediterranean Basin, where demographic and climatic conditions make it ideal for growing fruits and vege-tables, but a greater volume of water is required. Deficit irrigation strategies have proven to be suc-cessful in optimizing available water without pernicious impact on yield and harvest quality, but it is essential to control the water stress of the crop. The direct measurement of crop water status is currently performed using midday stem water potential, which is costly in terms of time and labor; therefore, indirect methods are needed for automatic monitoring of crop water stress. In this study, we present a novel approach to indirectly estimate the water stress of 15-year-old mature sweet cherry trees from a time series of soil water status and meteorological variables by using Machine Learning methods (Random Forest and Support Vector Machine). Time information was accounted for by integrating soil and meteorological measurements within arbitrary periods of 3, 6 and 10 days. Supervised binary classification and regression approaches were applied. The binary classification approach allowed for the definition of a model that alerts the farmer when a dangerous crop water stress episode is about to happen a day in advance. Performance metrics F2 and recall of up to 0.735 and 0.769, respectively, were obtained. With the regression approach a R2 of up to 0.817 was achieved.

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