Predictive Modeling of Above-Ground Biomass in Brachiaria Pastures from Satellite and UAV Imagery Using Machine Learning Approaches

Cesar I. Alvarez-Mendoza, Diego Guzman, Jorge Casas, Mike Bastidas, Jan Polanco, Milton Valencia-Ortiz, Frank Montenegro, Jacobo Arango, Manabu Ishitani, Michael Gomez Selvaraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Grassland pastures are crucial for the global food supply through their milk and meat production; hence, forage species monitoring is essential for cattle feed. Therefore, knowledge of pasture above-ground canopy features help understand the crop status. This paper finds how to construct machine learning models to predict above-ground canopy features in Brachiaria pasture from ground truth data (GTD) and remote sensing at larger (satellite data on the cloud) and smaller (unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)) scales. First, we used above-ground biomass (AGB) data obtained from Brachiaria to evaluate the relationship between vegetation indices (VIs) with the dry matter (DM). Next, the performance of machine learning algorithms was used for predicting AGB based on VIs obtained from ground truth and satellite and UAV imagery. When comparing more than twenty-five machine learning models using an Auto Machine Learning Python API, the results show that the best algorithms were the Huber with R2 = 0.60, Linear with R2 = 0.54, and Extra Trees with R2 = 0.45 to large scales using satellite. On the other hand, short-scale best regressions are K Neighbors with an R2 of 0.76, Extra Trees with an R2 of 0.75, and Bayesian Ridge with an R2 of 0.70, demonstrating a high potential to predict AGB and DM. This study is the first prediction model approach that assesses the rotational grazing system and pasture above-ground canopy features to predict the quality and quantity of cattle feed to support pasture management in Colombia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5870
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by a grant-in-aid from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan through the research project “Development of Sustainable Agricultural Cultivation Techniques Adapted to the Changes in Agricultural Production Environments”.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • above-ground biomass
  • machine learning prediction
  • precision agriculture
  • remote sensing
  • UAV


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