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Three-Dimensional Digital Model of Maize Canopy

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  7th World Congress on Computers in Agriculture Conference Proceedings, 22-24 June 2009, Reno, Nevada (electronic only)  711P0409e.(doi:10.13031/2013.29105)
Authors:   Renato Prata de Moraes Frasson, Witold F Krajewski
Keywords:   Maize canopy, maize architecture, three-dimensional model, photogrammetry, plant development

Current models of light interception and radiative transfer in crop canopies require three dimensional digital models of plants. Although the use of photogrammetry to create digital models of plants is not new, recent improvements in digital photography and the development of affordable commercial short range photogrammetry software have allowed us to reconstruct the three dimensional geometry of a maize canopy on the computer with unprecedented detail. Our non-destructive method allows the tracking of the development of an individual plant, a shortcoming of earlier methods. The methodology consists of placing several paper targets on the plant, photographing each leaf separately from several angles, and using the pictures to construct a digital model with the use of commercial photogrammetry software. To test this approach, we built two models of the same plant. The first model was constructed when the plant had six leaves, and the second was built a month later when it had ten leaves. In both cases, our main focus was to delineate the edges and mid-rib of the leaves, their orientation, and their inclination, which allows the calculations of parameters such as leaf area index, leaf overlap, and gap fraction, among others. The first model was built from 48 pictures and resulted in 348 points, and the second model used 119 pictures and resulted in 1553 points. By cloning this model and randomizing geometric parameters of the plant, a realistic digital model of a field can be created.

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