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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use in Assessing Crop Vitality and Height in Arid Land Cotton Crops
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org
Citation: 2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting 1800578.(doi:10.13031/aim.201800578)
Authors: Sara J Harders, Kelly R Thorp, Andrew French, Rick Ward
Keywords: Cotton, LAI, Leaf area index, Multispectral imagery, UAV, Unmanned aerial vehicle.
Abstract. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can aid in assessing plant health via leaf area index (LAI), plant height, and percent canopy cover more efficiently than current methods and without the destruction of plant matter from hand sampling. Equipping a UAV with a five band multispectral camera will expand upon prior research at a finer scale than previously possible with satellite imaging or other remote sensing techniques. In this study, a comparative analysis of traditional hand sampling methods to emerging UAV and multispectral technology were used to determine the advantages of using UAVs for crop monitoring. Ground truth data included canopy cover and plant height hand measurements, LI-COR 2200C Plant Canopy Analyzer LAI data, and LI-COR 3100C Area Meter LAI data. Preliminary analysis indicates plant height may be assessed using UAV multispectral data up to mid-season growth before boll development, which may be attributed to the soil obscuration as the canopy growth increases. This study finds that LAI and percent canopy cover can be predicted through multispectral image analysis, which may have strong implications for the role of UAVs for crop monitoring in the future.
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