by Carolyn Cowan
Multispectral and thermal images taken by cameras on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are helping researchers to monitor the resistance of maize to foliar diseases.
A new study from researchers at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) can reduce challenges associated with plant disease assessment in the field. By deploying cameras mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that capture image information from non-visible sections of the electromagnetic spectrum, the interdisciplinary team demonstrated the effectiveness of remote sensing technologies in maize disease phenotyping.
“Plant disease resistance assessment in the field is becoming difficult because the breeders’ trials are becoming larger, the trials have to be conducted in multiple locations, and because sometimes there is a lack of highly trained personnel who can evaluate the diseases,” said Francelino Rodrigues, CIMMYT Precision Agriculture Specialist and co-lead author of the study. “In addition, the disease notes taken in the field by a human eye can vary from person to person depending on the persons’ experience.”