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Automated Counting of Rice Panicle by Applying Deep Learning Model to Images from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platform

1,†, 1,†, 1, 1, 1, 2,3, 1,* and 2,3,*
Institute of Agricultural Equipment, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (ZAAS), Hangzhou 310000, China
Key Laboratory of Quantitative Remote Sensing in Agriculture of Ministry of Agriculture P. R. China, Beijing Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture, Beijing 100089, China
Key Laboratory of Agri-informatics, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing 100089, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Sensors 2019, 19(14), 3106;
Received: 3 June 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 11 July 2019 / Published: 13 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Systems for Smart Agriculture)
PDF [3874 KB, uploaded 17 July 2019]


The number of panicles per unit area is a common indicator of rice yield and is of great significance to yield estimation, breeding, and phenotype analysis. Traditional counting methods have various drawbacks, such as long delay times and high subjectivity, and they are easily perturbed by noise. To improve the accuracy of rice detection and counting in the field, we developed and implemented a panicle detection and counting system that is based on improved region-based fully convolutional networks, and we use the system to automate rice-phenotype measurements. The field experiments were conducted in target areas to train and test the system and used a rotor light unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with a high-definition RGB camera to collect images. The trained model achieved a precision of 0.868 on a held-out test set, which demonstrates the feasibility of this approach. The algorithm can deal with the irregular edge of the rice panicle, the significantly different appearance between the different varieties and growing periods, the interference due to color overlapping between panicle and leaves, and the variations in illumination intensity and shading effects in the field. The result is more accurate and efficient recognition of rice-panicles, which facilitates rice breeding. Overall, the approach of training deep learning models on increasingly large and publicly available image datasets presents a clear path toward smartphone-assisted crop disease diagnosis on a global scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: rice panicle counting; UAV platform; deep learning; yield estimation rice panicle counting; UAV platform; deep learning; yield estimation

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Zhou, C.; Ye, H.; Hu, J.; Shi, X.; Hua, S.; Yue, J.; Xu, Z.; Yang, G. Automated Counting of Rice Panicle by Applying Deep Learning Model to Images from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platform. Sensors 2019, 19, 3106.

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