Development of a sensing system for automated cotton fruit load and vegetation estimation

McCarthy, Alison and Hancock, Nigel (2013) Development of a sensing system for automated cotton fruit load and vegetation estimation. In: Inaugural Australian Cotton Research Conference 2013: Stimulating Science in Cotton, 8-11 Sep 2013, Narrabri, Australia.

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Measurements of fruit load and vegetation indices can be useful for monitoring plant growth stages and condition and
informing management decisions (e.g. irrigation volume and timing). However, these measurements are laborious to
collect in broad-acre field situations. A camera-based sensing system has been developed to automatically estimate cotton fruit load and leaf area index in cotton. The system uses three cameras to capture overhead views of the crop canopy and an ultrasonic distance sensor to measure crop height. The captured images are analysed to estimate plant density, flower count and boll count, whilst the height is used to estimate the leaf area index of the crop. Three platforms have been developed to convey the sensing system over the field, two ground-based vehicle configurations (one manual, one motorised), and an overhead system which can be mounted on a centre pivot or lateral move irrigation machine. The groundbased systems were evaluated in the 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13 cotton growing seasons, and the overhead-based sensor in the 2012/13 season. This paper describes the developed system and presents an evaluation of the system in cotton at different crop growth stages and lighting conditions. It is concluded that the plant height can be estimated using non-contact sensors under field conditions and plant density and flower count can be estimated from the top view images. However, the overhead cameras underestimated the boll count as the bolls were generally located lower on the plant.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2013 23:40
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2017 02:28
Uncontrolled Keywords: crop monitoring; cotton boles; broadacre farming; camera; sensing
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070103 Agricultural Production Systems Simulation
09 Engineering > 0913 Mechanical Engineering > 091302 Automation and Control Engineering
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences

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