Early crop vigour in canola, as in other crops, is likely to result in greater competition with weeds, more rapid canopy closure, improved nutrient acquisition, improved water-use efficiency, and, potentially, greater final grain yield. Laborious measurements of crop biomass over time can be replaced with newer remote-sensing technology to aid data acquisition. Normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) is a surrogate for biomass accumulation that can be recorded rapidly and repeatedly with inexpensive equipment. In seven small-plot field experiments conducted over a 4-year period with diverse canola germplasm (n = 105), we have shown that NDVI measures are well correlated with final grain yield. We found NDVI values were most correlated with yield (r >0.7) if readings were taken when the crop had received 210–320 growing degree-days (usually the mid-vegetative phase of growth). It is suggested that canola breeders may use NDVI to objectively select for vigorous genotypes that are more likely to have higher grain yields.
Cowley, R., Luckett, D., Moroni, J., & Diffey, S. (2014). Use of remote sensing to determine the relationship of early vigour to grain yield in canola (Brassica napus L.) germplasm. Crop and Pasture Science, 65(12), 1288-1299. https://doi.org/10.1071/CP14055