Improved cultivars and crop management is needed to increase productivity and sustainability of agriculture. Advances in sensor technologies and genomics offer possibilities for faster breeding of new cultivars and more site-specific crop management. PhenoCrop seeks to increase the sustainability and productivity of Norwegian wheat production by developing new high-throughput phenotyping tools to be used in plant breeding and precision agriculture. A robotic platform will be adapted for close-up imaging in field trials while drones fitted with multispectral and hyperspectral cameras will be used to gather crop canopy data in a fast and efficient manner. Specific algorithms including machine learning models will be applied to estimate important agronomic traits and predict yield performance. Deep learning object detection methods will be applied to develop image-based automated solutions for Fusarium head blight (FHB), which is a particular challenging disease to evaluate by visual scoring. A database system with user-friendly tools for efficient data management and visualization will be developed. Big data in breeding and agriculture will be utilized by applying novel concepts of combining crop performance in large-scale plant breeding nurseries across years and locations with yield mapping in farmers’ fields coupled with multispectral drone imaging data. This will help us to disentangle the genotype-by-environment interactions, develop better tools for predicting performance of new cultivars and helping farmers to apply site-specific crop management to increase yield stability, productivity and profitability. The work will be carried on in close cooperation with plant breeders (Graminor), farmers, extension service (NLR), and drone service providers (Unmanned), and in collaboration with world-leading expertise on statistical modeling (CIMMYT), and application of deep learning for image analysis in plant breeding (University of Minnesota).
Project leader: Morten Lillemo
Institution: NORGES MILJØ- OG BIOVITENSKAPELIGE UNIVERSITET (NMBU)