Spatial correlation between the chlorophyll index and foliar npk levels in coffee crop
Detection of spatial variability of data that can improve crop management is a key factor for precision agriculture. In agriculture, there is a need for tools to assist farmers in decision-making about proper nutrient management, aiming to achieve their full productive potential. Based on that, this study aimed to (1) determine the spatial correlations between the chlorophyll index (CI) and the foliar levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) in the coffee crop using geostatistical tools; and (2) to evaluate the potential use of this index as a tool for site-specific nutrient management in an irrigated coffee field. For that, a study was carried out in a 2.1 ha area under arabica coffee cultivation in Paula Cândido, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Samplings of the CI were performed in 1141 plants using a portable chlorophyll meter (SPAD-502). Regarding the NPK analysis, leaf samples from one of each 10 plants used to measure the CI were taken for chemical analysis (114 plants). Then, the data were submitted to descriptive and geostatistical analysis. For the spatial correlation analysis, the Moran Bivariate Global (I) and the Local index (Ixy) were used. The results showed a moderate correlation between the CI and N (0.500), showing the potential of the chlorophyll meter as a tool for site-specific nitrogen management in the coffee crop. Differently, the CI is not recommended for P and K management since they were not well correlated. Lastly, as a tool that performs indirect measurements, the results from the chlorophyll meter should be validated by field measurements to local calibrations.