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Precision solutions in plant protection

Our related experiments

In several of our experiments, we make use of precision survey methods to collect plant protection data. In our experiment in potato cultivation, for instance, we used drone-mounted cameras to take thermographic images, while in our wheat experiment the same technique was used, but employing a multispectral camera. The fortnightly multispectral survey took place between April and July at three locations, Szár, Martonvásár and Füzesgyarmat, where, in addition to comparing the performance of winter wheat cultivars, we also used the same method to quantify images of damage which occurred. 

One important method of precision analysis is spectral remote sensing (spectroscopy and spectrometry), which deals with the detection, measurement and recording of various electromagnetic waves from a given surface. The device used for such measurements is called a spectrometer. The great advantage of spectral remote sensing is that it allows extremely rapid data collection without contact or damage.

In Szár, as part of the national small-plot organic variety testing network, more than 20 winter wheat varieties were sown this year. The aim of the experiment is to investigate the suitability of different varieties for organic cultivation. The Centre for Agricultural Research in Martonvásár is also testing many wheat varieties and cultivars in small plots using organic cultivation methods. Our third location is the organic farm in Füzesgyarmat, which is conducting most on-farm wheat variety tests at a commercial level. To facilitate the evaluation of frequent surveys at the sites, artificial terrain identifiers (group control points or GCPs) were placed, which makes it possible to detect certain trends without real-time kinetic (RTK) correction.

After the first recordings, SPAD (chlorophyll content) measurements were also taken at the coordinates designated on the basis of a map evaluated on site at the times of the drone recordings, which may aid the effectiveness of the remote sensory information. Due to the frequency of drone recordings across time, it is also expected that there will be an opportunity to compare the trends detected by a drone-mounted camera with the results obtained from satellites.

In cooperation with the Centre for Agricultural Research in Martonvásár, during our experiments into the early, hyperspectral remote sensory detection of wheat leaf rust, time-series VIS-NIR hyperspectral images are taken of plants artificially infected with wheat rust, with differing nutrient supply levels. These images can be used to determine wavelengths, and this data may facilitate the development of simpler rapid-detection tools in the future.

We also use precision solutions in the plant protection monitoring of our tomato experiments. We are continuing our previous laboratory experiment at Áron Pető’s organic farm in Szigetmonostor, where hyperspectral data collection started after the planting of tomato seedlings. The surveys and pathological examinations can be precisely timed based on the forecasting models of the meteorological station deployed on site. Although no significant infection was observed in the studied crop during the early vegetative period, after bonitation, but before the leaves were separated, the symptoms of pathogens were collected into data cubes, the spectra of which are later compared with laboratory results and with each other after comprehensive data preparation, as well as by searching for the wavelengths characteristic of the given plant pathology image.

What is the goal of the experiments, and what results are expected?

You can read more about our ‘Wheat Variety Tests with Precision Solutions’ experiment here:

https://biokutatas.hu/en/page/show/variety_testing

You can find more information about the details of our plant protection monitoring research here:

https://biokutatas.hu/en/page/show/plant_protecting

Photos by ÖMKi

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