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Proceedings Paper

Exploratory use of a UAV platform for variety selection in peanut
Author(s): Maria Balota; Joseph Oakes
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Paper Abstract

Variety choice is the most important production decision farmers make because high yielding varieties can increase profit with no additional production costs. Therefore, yield improvement has been the major objective for peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) breeding programs worldwide, but the current breeding approach (selecting for yield under optimal production conditions) is slow and inconsistent with the needs derived from population demand and climate change. To improve the rate of genetic gain, breeders have used target physiological traits such as leaf chlorophyll content using SPAD chlorophyll meter, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from canopy reflectance in visible and near infra-red (NIR) wavelength bands, and canopy temperature (CT) manually measured with infra-red (IR) thermometers at the canopy level; but its use for routine selection was hampered by the time required to walk hundreds of plots. Recent developments in remote sensing-based high throughput phenotyping platforms using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have shown good potential for future breeding advancements. Recently, we initiated a study for the evaluation of suitability of digital imagery, NDVI, and CT taken from an UAV platform for peanut variety differentiation. Peanut is unique for setting its yield underground and resilience to drought and heat, for which yield is difficult to pre-harvest estimate; although the need for early yield estimation within the breeding programs exists. Twenty-six peanut cultivars and breeding lines were grown in replicated plots either optimally or deficiently irrigated under rain exclusion shelters at Suffolk, Virginia. At the beginning maturity growth stage, approximately a month before digging, NDVI and CT were taken with ground-based sensors at the same time with red, blue, green (RGB) images from a Sony camera mounted on an UAV platform. Disease ratings were also taken pre-harvest. Ground and UAV derived vegetation indices were analyzed for disease and yield prediction and further presented in this paper.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 May 2016
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9866, Autonomous Air and Ground Sensing Systems for Agricultural Optimization and Phenotyping, 98660F (17 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2228872
Show Author Affiliations
Maria Balota, Virginia Tech Tidewater AREC (United States)
Joseph Oakes, Virginia Tech Tidewater AREC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9866:
Autonomous Air and Ground Sensing Systems for Agricultural Optimization and Phenotyping
John Valasek; J. Alex Thomasson, Editor(s)

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