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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Sugarcane Field Station

Title: Use of a Remote Controlled Plane to Identify Cold Tolerant Clones from Early Stages of a Selection Program

item Hu, Chen-jian
item Davidson, Wayne
item Hou, Hangxin
item Irey, Mike
item Comstock, Jack
item Glynn, Neil

Submitted to: American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/22/2009
Publication Date: 7/1/2009
Citation: Hu, C., Davidson, W., Hou, H., Irey, M.S., Comstock, J.C., Glynn, N.C. 2009. Use of a Remote Controlled Plane to Identify Cold Tolerant Clones from Early Stages of a Selection Program. American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, volume 29:86-87

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Stress tolerance is one of the most important selection traits for sugarcane. However, it is a time consuming and laborious process to identify stress tolerant clones from among the thousands of clones in the early stages of a selection program. Additionally, some of the weather-related stress events occur infrequently and unpredictably and data must be gathered quickly to take advantage of the weather events as they occur. On January 22, 2009 an industry-wide killing freeze event occurred in Florida with temperatures below 26°F for 3 hours in some places in the cane-growing region. Traditionally, ground-based assessments are made on a periodic basis in order to identify freeze tolerant clones. In the work presented here, CH-E05, a remote controlled aerial imaging device developed by AgFly R&D was used to see if cold tolerant clones could be quickly identified from the air. CH-E05 is a ground piloted drone that uses electric power and has a flight time of 20 – 40 minutes depending on the weather and flight pattern. The plane is designed to be hand launched and can be belly landed in the field. On February 13, 21 days following the freeze event, a digital camera with a ground link was used to record aerial images of the approximately 1500 clones in Stage 2 of the USDA Canal Point program. Visual assessments of freeze damage from the aerial images were made and then compared to analytical data collected March 3 during ground-based assessments and October 22-24 sampling. Clones identified as susceptible to cold damage in the aerial images averaged a 3.4% increase for sucrose content from late October to early March. Similarly, clones identified as cold tolerant based on the aerial images averaged an 18.8% increase for sucrose content during the same period based on the ground-based milling data. Thus the use of aerial imagery is a means of quickly collecting large amounts of visual cold tolerance data in a short period of time. In the future, infrared imagery will be used in CH-E05 to determine if other types of stress tolerance can be identified using this tool.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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