Prediction of sweet corn yield depending on cultivation technology parameters by using linear regression and artificial neural network methods

Keywords: mathematical modeling; data processing; plowing depth; mineral fertilizers; plants density; drip irrigation


Artificial neural networks and linear regression are widely used in particularly all branches of science for modeling and prediction. Linear regression is an old data processing tool, and artificial neural networks are a comparatively new one. The goal of the study was to determine whether artificial neural networks are more accurate than linear regression in sweet corn yield prediction. In the study we used a dataset obtained from field experiments on the technological improvement of sweet corn cultivation. The field experiments were conducted during the period from 2014 to 2016 on dark-chestnut soil under drip irrigated conditions in the Steppe Zone of Ukraine. We studied the impact of the moldboard plowing depths, mineral fertilizer application rates and plant densities on the crop yield. A significant impact of all the studied factors on the sweet corn productivity was proved by using the analysis of variance. The highest yield of sweet corn ears without husks (10.93 t ha–1) was under the moldboard plowing at the depth of 20–22 cm, mineral fertilizers application rate of N120P120, plant density of 65,000 plants ha–1. Data processing by using the linear regression and artificial neural network methods showed that the latter is a great deal better than linear regression in sweet corn yield prediction. Higher accuracy of the artificial neural network prediction was proved by the higher value of the coefficient of determination (R2) – 0.978, in comparison to 0.897 for the linear regression prediction model. We conclude that artificial neural networks are a much better data processing tool, especially, in the life sciences and for prediction of the non-linear natural processes and phenomena. The main disadvantage of the neural network models is their “black box” nature. However, linear regression will not lose its popularity among scientists in the nearest future. Linear regression is a much simpler data analysis tool, it is easier to perform the prediction, but it still provides a sufficiently high level of accuracy.


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