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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(5), 787; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10050787

Aerial and Ground Based Sensing of Tolerance to Beet Cyst Nematode in Sugar Beet

1
Syngenta Crop Protection Münchwillen AG, Schaffhauserstrasse, 4332 Stein, Switzerland
2
Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zürich, Universitätstrasse 2, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
3
Verband der Hessisch-Pfälzischen Zuckerrübenanbauer e.V., Rathenaustraße 10, 67547 Worms, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 April 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 19 May 2018
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Abstract

The rapid development of image-based phenotyping methods based on ground-operating devices or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) has increased our ability to evaluate traits of interest for crop breeding in the field. A field site infested with beet cyst nematode (BCN) and planted with four nematode susceptible cultivars and five tolerant cultivars was investigated at different times during the growing season. We compared the ability of spectral, hyperspectral, canopy height- and temperature information derived from handheld and UAV-borne sensors to discriminate susceptible and tolerant cultivars and to predict the final sugar beet yield. Spectral indices (SIs) related to chlorophyll, nitrogen or water allowed differentiating nematode susceptible and tolerant cultivars (cultivar type) from the same genetic background (breeder). Discrimination between the cultivar types was easier at advanced stages when the nematode pressure was stronger and the plants and canopies further developed. The canopy height (CH) allowed differentiating cultivar type as well but was much more efficient from the UAV compared to manual field assessment. Canopy temperatures also allowed ranking cultivars according to their nematode tolerance level. Combinations of SIs in multivariate analysis and decision trees improved differentiation of cultivar type and classification of genetic background. Thereby, SIs and canopy temperature proved to be suitable proxies for sugar yield prediction. The spectral information derived from handheld and the UAV-borne sensor did not match perfectly, but both analysis procedures allowed for discrimination between susceptible and tolerant cultivars. This was possible due to successful detection of traits related to BCN tolerance like chlorophyll, nitrogen and water content, which were reduced in cultivars with a low tolerance to BCN. The high correlation between SIs and final sugar beet yield makes the UAV hyperspectral imaging approach very suitable to improve farming practice via maps of yield potential or diseases. Moreover, the study shows the high potential of multi- sensor and parameter combinations for plant phenotyping purposes, in particular for data from UAV-borne sensors that allow for standardized and automated high-throughput data extraction procedures. View Full-Text
Keywords: hyperspectral images; spectrometry; canopy height; thermography; UAV; Heterodera schachtii; root; field hyperspectral images; spectrometry; canopy height; thermography; UAV; Heterodera schachtii; root; field
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Joalland, S.; Screpanti, C.; Varella, H.V.; Reuther, M.; Schwind, M.; Lang, C.; Walter, A.; Liebisch, F. Aerial and Ground Based Sensing of Tolerance to Beet Cyst Nematode in Sugar Beet. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 787.

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