A UAS-based remote sensing platform for crop water stress detection

Friday, 19 December 2014: 5:00 PM
Huihui Zhang1, Dong Wang2 and James E Ayars2, (1)USDA-ARS, Water Management Unit, Fort Collins, CO, United States, (2)Agricultural Research Service Parlier, Parlier, CA, United States
The remote detection of water stress in a biofuel crop field was investigated using canopy temperature measurements. An experimental trial was set up in the central valley of Maui, Hawaii, comprising different sugarcane varieties and irrigation regimes. An unmanned aerial system (UAS) was equipped with a FLIR A615 thermal camera to acquire canopy temperature imagery. Images were mosaicked and processed to show spatial temperature difference of entire field. A weather station was installed in a full irrigation plot to collect meteorological parameters. The sensitivity of canopy to air temperature difference and crop water stress index were investigated on detecting cop water stress levels. The results showed that low irrigation level treatment plots resulted in higher canopy temperatures compared to the high irrigation level treatment plots. Canopy temperatures also showed differences in water stress in different sugarcane varieties. The study demonstrated the feasibility of UAS-based thermal method to quantify plant water status of sugar canes used for biofuel crops.