Prediction of yearly mid-growing season first and second critical dry spells using artificial neural networks (ANN) for enhanced maize yield in nine stations in Nigeria is performed. The ANN model uses nine meteorological parameters to predict onset dates and lengths of the critical dry spells. The daily dataset is from 1971 to 2013 of which about 70% is used for training while 30% is for testing. Seven ANN models are developed for each station with a view to measuring their predictive ability by comparing predicted values with the observed ones. Prediction lead times for the two critical dry spell onset dates generally range from about 2 weeks to 2 months for the nine stations. Error range during testing for the onset dates and lengths of first and second critical dry spells is generally ±4 days. The root-mean-square error (RMSE), coefficient of determination, Nash-Sutcliffe coefficient of efficiency, Wilmott\'s index of agreement, and RMSE observation standard deviation ratio range from 0.46 to 3.31, 0.58 to 0.93, 0.51 to 0.90, 0.82 to 0.95, and 0.30 to 0.69, respectively. These results show ANN capability of making the above reliable predictions for yearly supplementary irrigation planning, scheduling, and various other decision makings related to sustainable agricultural operations for improved rain-fed maize crop yield in Nigeria.
Part of the book: Maize Genetic Resources