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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Sustainable Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #345575

Research Project: Development of Sustainable Water Management Technologies for Humid Regions

Location: Sustainable Water Management Research

Title: Mobile open-source plant-canopy monitoring system

item Fisher, Daniel - Ken
item Huang, Yanbo

Submitted to: Modern Intrumentation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/29/2017
Publication Date: 10/31/2017
Citation: Fisher, D.K., Huang, Y. 2017. Mobile open-source plant-canopy monitoring system. Modern Intrumentation. 6:1-13.

Interpretive Summary: Many agricultural applications rely on detailed information about crop growth conditions in the field. Mobile farm vehicles have the potential to serve as mobile sensing platforms by installing sensors on the vehicles, and collecting data as the vehicles operate. Research Agricultural Engineers with the USDA ARS Crop Production Systems Research Unit at Stoneville, MS, undertook a project to develop a mobile monitoring system to collect plant-canopy information. A microcontroller-based circuit, GPS receiver, and multiple plant-height and canopy-temperature sensors were installed on an agricultural vehicle. As the vehicle traveled across the field, data were collected to detect variabilities in plant growth in the field. The mobile monitoring system uses open-source hardware and software components, and is simple and inexpensive (US$292) to fabricate. This monitoring system provides a framework for similar or additional sensing applications.

Technical Abstract: Many agricultural applications, including improved crop production, precision agriculture, and phenotyping, rely on detailed field and crop information to detect and react to spatial variabilities. Mobile farm vehicles, such as tractors and sprayers, have the potential to operate as mobile sensing platforms, enabling the collection of large amounts of data while working. Open-source hardware and software components were integrated to develop a mobile plant-canopy sensing and monitoring system. A microcontroller-based system, which incorporated a Bluetooth radio, GPS receiver, infrared temperature and ultrasonic distance sensors, micro SD card storage, and voltage regulation components, was developed at a cost of US$292. The system was installed on an agricultural vehicle and tested in a soybean field. The monitoring system demonstrates an application of open-source hardware to agricultural research and provides a framework for similar or additional sensing applications.