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Development of an optical detection system for diseases in field crops with a view to reduce pesticides by targeted application

Contract nr: QLK5-CT-1999-01280
Project type: RS (Research and Technological Development Project)
Starting date: 01-04-2000
Duration: 36 months
Total cost: 2,195,581 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,523,083 EUR
Scientific Officer: Michel VAN DEN BOSSCHE
Research topic: 5.1.1. Sustainable agriculture/Plant Systems

Abstract:
Crop protection represents one of the highest costs in farm budgets. Farmers are under increasing social and economic pressure to reduce pesticide inputs dramatically. Although most weed and disease infestations occur in patches, the most widely used practice is still spraying pesticides uniformly. In this project a ground-based real-time remote sensing system will be conceived with which it will be possible to detect automatically, during field operation, plant diseases on arable crops in an early stage of the development of the disease, even before the diseases can be visibly detected. The methodology will use differences in reflectance and fluorescence properties, and leaf temperature variations between healthy and diseased plants. An intelligent multisensor fusion decision system based on neural networks will be used to decide on the presence of diseases or plant stresses, in order to treat the diseases in a spatially variable way.

Objectives:
In this project, the main objective is to develop a ground-based real-time remote sensing system for detecting diseases in arable crops in an early stage of disease development before the disease can visibly be detected. The methodology will be based upon differences in reflectance and fluorescence properties and leaf temperature variations between healthy and diseased plants. The early detection of diseases can be used to reduce pesticide use through spatially variable treatment. The methodology must be developed that it can be used under field conditions. The optical system can be mounted on a field vehicle that it can be applied in both the mapping concept and real-time concept. The optical devices with the image processor and the classifier must respond fast enough so that the field vehicle can cross the field at normal speed.


Coordinator
Herman RAMON
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Heverlee
BELGIUM
Tel.: +32 16 32 14 46
Fax: +32 16 32 19 94
E-mail: herman.ramon@agr.kuleuven.ac.be


Partners
  Alastair McCARTNEY
Rothamsted Experimental Station
Harpenden
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel.: +44 1582 763133
Fax: +44 1582 760981
E-mail: alastair.mccartney@bbsrc.ac.uk
  Henry MARAITE
UniversitÚ Catholique de Louvain
Louvain-la-Neuve
BELGIUM
Tel.: +32 10 47 37 49
Fax: +32 10 47 86 97
E-mail: Maraite@fymy.ucl.ac.be
  Luigi BODRIA
UniversitÓ degli studi di Milano
Milano
ITALY
Tel.: +39 0223691424
Fax: +39 0223691499
E-mail: luigi.bodria@unimi.it
  Ralf MARBACH
Technical Reseach Centre of Finland
Oulu
FINLAND
Tel.: +358 85512111
Fax: +358 85512320
E-mail: alastair.mccartney@bbsrc.ac.uk
  Jean-Marie SAVALLE
ISAGRI
Beauvais
FRANCE
Tel.: +33 3 44064004
Fax: +33 3 44453150
E-mail: AD@isagri.fr