Daily News Reports »

David Sparks Ph.d Tracking Towers
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: August 17, 2017

Click on the play button to listen to report.

Download Report: Tracking_Towers.mp3

In an ever-changing world climate with global warming and drought looming large, a research group at University of Missouri and led by Dr. Gui DeSouza, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has put robotic towers into various crop fields in order to monitor plant behavior otherwise known as phenotyping, 24/7. What is the drought tolerance for various plants and how can they be modified to better cope with drought conditions? "We came up with this idea of having towers put right in the middle of the field. We plant by areas so we have one area of the plot with one family of corn. Another area, we have another family of corn. Another area we have sorghum, another area another kind of sorghum. We have different distances between the rows of the corn to see how the corn behaves in a very dense planting scheme versus a more sparse planting method. We can look at those areas using the towers and if we detect one family that is not growing as fast or is stressed by heat, the tower has two stereo cameras so you can create 3-D models of the entire crop. You can calculate volume, biomass, but it can also look at color and it has a third camera that looks at the infrared image. That way we can map heat on top of the 3-D model. We can have the distribution of heat on the leaves or on the stem of the plant. The plant is close to the tower and we can also estimate the angles of the leaves

Recent Reports from Line on Agriculture

Click here to see Archived Reports