Crop improvement efforts are targeting increased above-ground biomass and radiation-use efficiency as drivers for greater yield. Early ground cover and canopy height contribute to biomass production, but manual measurements of these traits, and in particular above-ground biomass, are slow and labour-intensive, more so when made at multiple developmental stages. These constraints limit the ability to capture these data in a temporal fashion, hampering insights that could be gained from multi-dimensional data. The phenoMobile® Lite provides researchers with a high throughput, non-destructive solution to rapidly screen field crops for traits such as crop height, fractional coverage and biomass index saving considerable time and money.
Our phenoMobile® technology is an advanced phenotyping buggy that is rugged, mobile, highly adaptable, and easy to use for field phenotyping applications. It is electronically adjustable for crops with variable heights and widths, offers flexible imaging and sensing equipment for efficient non-destructive monitoring and characterisation of plant canopies such as light detection and ranging (LiDAR) 3D reconstructions.
- Our technology comprises hardware design, system integration components (including software, middleware, cabling, harnesses, mounts), sensor configuration, hardware configuration, acquisition and control software, calibration methodology and operation protocols.
- The current sensory payload consists of light-detection and ranging (LiDAR; SICK LMS400).
- Data acquisition and camera/sensor control and monitoring is achieved through a customised java graphical user interface running on a touch-screen tablet.
The phenoMobile® Lite has been successfully validated to be a surrogate for the non-destructive field phenotyping of both wheat and rice yielding estimates of canopy height, fractional ground cover, greenness vertical distribution, leaf area, plant counts, visual assessments, and with optional NDVI GreenSeeker, canopy density and greenness.
The High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre (HRPPC) at CSIRO developed the phenoMobile® Lite to use light pulses from LiDAR (a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of pulsed laser light to measure distance) to generate precise 3D reconstruction of crop canopies at the field scale. These can be analysed on a cloud-based analytical and data visualisation platform called phenoSMART® to measure canopy height and biomass. An optional colour imaging camera can be used to estimate fractional ground cover for monitoring crop growth and development. The technology can be used, for example, to assist scientific and agricultural research, pre-breeding and breeding.
Two patent applications have been filed. The phenoMobile® trade mark is a registered trademark in Australia, US and several other countries. The technology is mature and there is significant unregistered design, software and copyright material developed and applied to the field prototypes.
Our team have personnel covering a broad range of expertise from agricultural engineering, to software engineers, mechatronics engineering to logistics and experimental design.