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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory » Research » Research Project #443636

Research Project: User-Testing of Cover Crop Performance Mapping Tool for Precision Integrated Weed Management

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-22000-167-069-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 25, 2023
End Date: Feb 28, 2024

A critical component of a computer vision tool for data collection is that the user-interface provides an intuitive and easy-to-use experience that consistently performs high quality data collection. Therefore, this proposal is focused on developing user-testing pipelines with mapping capabilities. The objective of this project is to conduct user-testing with farmers with a novel low-cost sensing system for mapping cover crop and weed performance.

Throughout the product development process, there will be various cycles of testing, feedback, and improvement to test all the individual hardware and software components and how those integrate with farmers. The result of these test cycles is a highly functional tool which produces the expected output and that is easy to operate. A small umber of farmers considered good candidates to be testers will collaborate on the testing of the mapping technology. All the tools and support needed will be provided for the deployment of the technology. Farmers will be trained and assisted when deploying the system,. Participants will be monitored continually to observe the resulting data generated. Farmer experience testing steps: - Ship components to an extension agent or crop consultant partnering with one farmer - Share instructions/tutorial on how to install and operate the tools - Group training session to introduce the product, go over key aspects of the tutorial and answer questions in preparation for setup - Initial setup and system verification - Group meeting to go over initial set up experience and to guarantee everything is working as expected and that the farmer is ready to start collecting data - Recurring meetings to track their progress and gather feedback - Hotline for ‘real time’ personalized support - Group meeting by the end of the season for overall user experience feedback - Implement changes per users feedback