Understanding Your Aerial Data: PLANT COUNTING

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You’re out in your corn field counting plants by hand while beads of sweat trickle down your forehead.

1…2…3…4…Surely there’s a better way!

One of the most common questions our clients ask is, “Can you give a final stand count?” For all seed-planted crops, it is important to know what percentage of the field has emerged at a particular growth stage. Farmers do have a good sense of qualifying this with direct observation, but when we talk to enterprise users or farmers who don’t have constant contact with their fields, they are looking for solutions. Using the Plant Counting algorithm in the Algorithm Marketplace, we are able to automatically quantify the success of a planting and turn around data quickly enough that the farmer has an opportunity to reseed if necessary.

What is it?

Working from high-resolution images of post-emergence crops and employing innovative rules-based reasoning, the Plant Counting tool is able to deliver accurate plant counts from your aerial survey.

How does it work?

The Plant Counting algorithm works by asking users to help identify parts of their field (ground, plants, rows, etc.). Based on the user’s inputs, the algorithm goes about identifying plant rows, determining the gaps within each row and finally computing the plant count.

Who may be interested?

Given the nature of the algorithm, agricultural producers are top of mind. Historically, farmers have had to count plants by hand within a subsection of their field and then apply the number proportionally to the rest of the field. This method is imprecise because it is assumes a degree of homogeneity which is difficult to achieve even for large industrial farms.

When can it be used?

The Plant Counting tool is designed to work for agricultural fields that are organized into uniform rows. By uniform, we mean the same number of seeds planted and approximately equal spacing across plants. The tool is most useful in early emergence plant stage. Corn plants, for example, typically emerge within a day or two of each other. If a farmer has information on row-based counts at this stage, he or she can quickly identify which rows have late-emerging crops and act to prevent the development of potential weeds.

Want to learn more?

To use Plant Counting on your aerial survey or to get more information about the Algorithm Marketplace, visit https://www.datamapper.com/algorithms.

We also work closely with GIS experts, university researchers and enterprise clients to build and commercialize custom algorithms to keep the marketplace growing. Email us at info@datamapper.com to partner or share your ideas.