Project Details:

Title:
Imaging for Crop Stress Diagnosis in Soybeans

Parent Project: This is the first year of this project.
Checkoff Organization:Ohio Soybean Council
Categories:Crop management systems, Soybean diseases
Organization Project Code:18-R-11
Project Year:2018
Lead Principal Investigator:Scott Shearer (University of Kentucky)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Keywords:

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

Current scouting practices utilize humans to walk the field and visually assess crop health. Human scouting is expensive and often yields less than desirable results. The proposed sensing strategy facilitates improved scouting effectiveness and accuracy at a reduced cost. Soybean producers will realize increased profits via higher yields and/or elimination of ineffective treatments. Benefits of an expanded crop health reference library, through the addition of soybean imagery will include: quick turnaround time for soybean crop health diagnostics, potential use as an educational tool during grower meetings showing digital images of crop health issues and expanded in-service training opportunities for county educators. The key innovative component of the proposed research is to sense within the soybean canopy to identify crop stressors and to reduce yield loss.

Project Objectives

Objective 1: Soybean Intra-Canopy Imaging Stringer Suspended Crop Health Sensing (SSCHS)
Preliminary work has been completed on the SSCHS and image acquisition system. Several stock cameras are linked and controlled from a single, synchronized “main” camera. When the main camera is triggered, the other cameras are actuated with minimal delay. The cameras are controlled remotely through a mobile device app. After insertion into the soybean canopy, the cameras are lowered to multiple elevations within the plant canopy for image acquisition. A second SSCHS will be developed specifically for soybean crop canopies. This model will include cameras organized in a circle so imagery with a combined 360° view of the lower portion of the canopy can be acquired, to give a single panoramic view of the area. We believe the panoramic view of the lower portion of the soybean canopy will account for almost all physical manifestations of a crop health problem. The final goal of stinger re-development will be the inclusion of structured LED lighting. LED illumination strips will mitigate the effects of soybean canopy self-shading.

Objective 2: Reference Library Development for Soybean Crop Health Assessment
To build the Reference Library, a network of crop scouts, growers, and state extension specialists will be contacted. As crop health problems appear during the growing season, the above network will contact the project personnel. In turn, project personnel will travel to the location to take photographs and document crop health using the PLSDA Field Lab. The library will initially be limited only to crop health problems of importance to Ohio soybean producers. The general framework developed through the construction of the Reference Library for this project will allow for it to be expanded in a manner that enables its use in multiple settings, crops and applications.

Objective 3: Computational Process/Algorithm Development for Soybean Crop Health Classification
Post image acquisition data are transferred from the camera to the image processing, feature extraction and classification software environment. The advantage of doing this is the ability to extract more information about the plant than basic light reflectance and to able to create a robust sensing and model system that can work across different. Texture matching and color analysis techniques will be used to compare intra-canopy panoramas to those in the reference library for crop health diagnosis.

Objective 4: Commercial Scale Field Testing
In examining past research in the field, another notable weakness is that the test plots/fields are usually limited to one or two locations. Using a network of growers and state extension specialists, multiple locations across Ohio will be included.

Project Deliverables

Stringer Suspended Crop Health Sensing (SSCHS) permits intra-row image acquisition previously attainable by manual labor, only. Current scouting practices utilize humans to walk the field and visually assess crop health. Human scouting is expensive and often yields less than desirable results. Current remote sensing techniques are limited to a nadir (lowest point) view of the crop canopy. By the time crop stress is detected in the upper reaches of the canopy, little can be done to mitigate the problem. The SSCHS platform allows for the insertion of multiple cameras into the crop canopy for generating views of lower through upper reaches of the plant canopy. The proposed sensing strategy facilitates improved scouting effectiveness and accuracy at a reduced cost.

Progress of Work

Updated March 25, 2019:

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Final Project Results

Updated March 25, 2019:
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Benefit to Soybean Farmers

Benefits of an expanded crop health reference library, through the addition of soybean imagery, will include: 1) quick turnaround time for soybean crop health diagnostics; 2) potential use as an educational tool during grower meetings showing digital images of insect, disease, and nutrient damage; and 3) expanded in-service training opportunities for county educators.

Soybean producers will realize increased profits via higher yields and/or elimination of ineffective treatments.

Performance Metrics

Project Years

YearProject Title (each year)
2018Imaging for Crop Stress Diagnosis in Soybeans