17 November 2017 - JACKSON, Tenn.

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones, could help farmers determine if their crop is growing satisfactorily, according to a recent study conducted by University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture researchers.

The study evaluated the ability of a UAS to accurately and precisely determine plant populations of cotton. Producers routinely assess plant populations early in the growing season to determine the state of their crop, and what management decisions are needed to ensure an optimal harvest.  This is most often done by counting the number of plants within a selected distance and repeating those counts in different locations throughout the field to find an average.

“This traditional approach is reliant upon a highly uniform plant population across the entire field and can be influenced by human bias,” says Shawn Butler, graduate student in the University of Tennessee College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “Theoretically, an aerial approach could provide spatially dense information on plant populations across large areas quickly and remove human bias.”

For two years, researchers assessed plant stands of emerging cotton through manual counting and through images obtained from both digital and multi-spectral cameras mounted beneath a quad-copter. The quad-copter was flown at varying altitudes ranging from 30 to 120 meters.

Of the two camera systems analyzed, the images produced from the multi-spectral camera proved to be more accurate in estimating plant populations, with a greater than 93 percent accuracy. However, researchers say the red, green, blue (RGB) images produced by the less-expensive digital camera still looked promising, with a greater than 85 percent accuracy using current methods and scripted programming.

“Based on initial results, the aerial imagery provided by either RGB or multi-spectral sensors may be a sufficient tool to improve accuracy and efficiency of plant stand assessment,” says Butler. “The most impactful difference to the end user in deciding a method to use will be the cost between the two camera systems.”

“Crop monitoring is a big obstacle for many producers,” says Tyson Raper, project leader and assistant professor with the UT Department of Plant Sciences. “We want to continue to evaluate tools and methodologies that have the potential to help farmers overcome monitoring challenges, improve response time and increase profitability.”

Butler presented this research at the 2017 International ASA, CSSA and SSSA Annual Meeting, “Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future,” held in Tampa, Florida. The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America hosted the meeting.

The study was conducted at three locations – the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson and the UT AgResearch and Education centers at Milan and Ames Plantation. Other project team members include Mike Buschermohle, Interim Assistant Dean of UT Extension. Cotton Incorporated provided partial support for this project.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

Source: ​UT Institute of Agriculture

Illustration Photo: Drone flying over a crop field (CC0 Creative Commons from Pixabay.com)

Read more

Comments

No comments to display.

Related posts

EU's Call for Proposals: An empowering, inclusive Next Generation Internet

The objective is to support actions on smarter, open, trusted and personalised learning solutions to optimise digital learning and to allow learners to engage and interact with content and with peers.
Application Deadline in 5 months

Singapore to establish Additive Manufacturing Facility and Applications in Maritime Sector

The facility’s location also leverages PSA’s parts supplier base and facility operations to support just-in-time inventory. This move towards digitised inventories reduces the need to hold excess inventory, which lowers storage costs, while shortening turnaround time from weeks to days due to improved availability of spare parts. In the long run, PSA will expand the scope of these services to the wider maritime industry, including ship owners, to help build its business adjacencies.

EU's Call for Proposals: The AQUAEXCEL2020 twelfth call for access

The facilities available cover the entire range of production systems (cage, pond, recirculation, flowthrough, hatchery and disease challenge); environments (freshwater, marine, cold, temperate and warm water); scales (small, medium and industrial scale); fish species (salmonids, cold and warm water marine fish, freshwater fish and artemia); and fields of expertise (nutrition, physiology, health & welfare, genetics, engineering, monitoring & management technologies).
Application Deadline in a month

Environment and Big Data: Role in Smart Cities of India

This study identifies six environmental factors, which should be integrated in the development of smart cities. These environmental factors include indicators of landscape and geography, climate, atmospheric pollution, water resources, energy resources, and urban green space as a major component of the environment.

Corteva Agriscience and IRRI Ink Partnership to Develop Advanced Rice Technologies and Programs

The partnership seeks to improve the genetic outcomes of breeding programs, encourage sustainable rice cultivation, and develop new rice varieties which deliver higher yields and are more resilient against biotic and abiotic stresses.

Call for Applications: Communication projects which mitigate anthropogenic climate change

The Minor Foundation for Major Challenges (MFMC) is inviting applications from all over the world to fund communication projects which mitigate anthropogenic climate change.
Application Deadline in a month

EU's Call for Proposals: Digital technologies for improved performance in cognitive production plants

Proposals need to develop new technologies to realise cognitive production plants, with improved efficiency and sustainability, by use of smart and networked sensor technologies, intelligent handling and online evaluation of various forms of data streams as well as new methods for self-organizing processes and process chains.
Application Deadline in 4 months

Study reveals best use of wildflowers to benefit crops on farms

For the first time, a Cornell University study of strawberry crops on New York farms tested this theory and found that wildflower strips on farms added pollinators when the farm lay within a "Goldilocks zone," where 25 to 55 percent of the surrounding area contained natural lands.

EU's Call for Proposals: Reinforcing the EU agricultural knowledge base

Activities shall analyse and compare the approaches taken on their performance and impact for farmers/foresters as well as effectivity of the communication and information channels used for dissemination in countries and regions.
Application Deadline in 3 months

The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities

In response to the Bali Fintech Agenda, the World Bank will focus on using fintech to deepen financial markets, enhance responsible access to financial services, and improve cross-border payments and remittance transfer systems.