Special Issue "Sensors Application in Agriculture"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 July 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Dimitrios S. Paraforos Website E-Mail
Section Technology in Crop Production, Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Hohenheim, Garbenstr. 9, 70599, Stuttgart, Germany
Phone: +4971145924556
Interests: digital farming; control applications in machine automation; durability of agricultural machinery; ISOBUS data analytics; agricultural robotics; machine learning for data-driven agriculture
Guest Editor
Ass. Prof. Dr. Spyros Fountas Website E-Mail
Department of Natural Resources Management and Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Interests: precision agriculture; farm machinery; information systems
Guest Editor
Dr. Francesco Marinello Website E-Mail
Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
Interests: precision agriculture; agricultural mechanization; sensors; automation; unmanned aerial vehicles; Blockchain

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Technologies are playing an important role in the development of crop and livestock farming, and have the potential to be the key drivers of sustainable intensification of agricultural systems. In particular, new sensors are now available with reduced dimensions, reduced costs and increased performances, which can be implemented and integrated in production systems, allowing an increase of data and eventually an increase of information. This is of great importance to support digital transformation, precision agriculture and smart farming, and to eventually allow a revolution in the way food is produced. In order to exploit these results, authoritative studies from the research world are still needed to support development and implementation of new solutions and best practices.

This Special Issue is aimed at bringing together recent developments related to novel sensors and their proved or potential applications in agriculture. Contributions are expected to deal with, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • Soil, vegetation, air and water sensors
  • Livestock sensors
  • On the go sensing
  • Non-destructive sensing
  • Proximal and remote sensing
  • Multispectral and Hyperspectral sensors and vegetation indexes
  • Fluorescence and thermal imaging
  • Sensors for determination of crop health status
  • Sensors for determination of animal health status
  • Real-time monitoring of animal bio-responses
  • Sensors for automated animal management
  • Integration of sensors in agricultural machines: automation and controls
  • Yield monitoring
  • Monitoring of different growth stages of crops and phenotyping
  • Early detection of diseases and pests
  • Multisensor systems, sensor fusion
  • Detection and identification of crops and weeds
  • Sensors for detection of fruits and quality determination
  • Sensors for positioning, navigation, and obstacle detection
  • Multisensors and data fusion
  • Advanced characterization techniques
  • Sensor networks and IOT in agriculture and livestock sectors
  • Sensors solution for precision agriculture and precision livestock farming
Ass. Prof. Dr. Francesco Marinello
Asst. Prof. Dr. Dimitrios S. Paraforos
Ass. Prof. Dr. Spyros Fountas
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Agricultural sensors
  • Livestock sensors
  • Precision agriculture
  • Precision livestock farming
  • Agricultural engineering
  • Sensors applications
  • Remote sensing
  • Proximal sensing
  • Sensor networks
  • Data fusion
  • Digital farming

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Cosmic-Ray Neutron Sensor for Soil Moisture Estimation over Large Areas
Agriculture 2019, 9(9), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9090202 - 14 Sep 2019
Abstract
A correct soil moisture estimation is a fundamental prerequisite for many applications: agriculture, meteorological forecast, flood and drought prediction, and, in general, water accounting and management. Traditional methods typically provide point-like measurements, but suffer from soil heterogeneity, which can produce significant misinterpretation of [...] Read more.
A correct soil moisture estimation is a fundamental prerequisite for many applications: agriculture, meteorological forecast, flood and drought prediction, and, in general, water accounting and management. Traditional methods typically provide point-like measurements, but suffer from soil heterogeneity, which can produce significant misinterpretation of the hydrological scenarios. In the last decade, cosmic-ray neutron sensing (CRNS) has emerged as a promising approach for the detection of soil moisture content. CRNS can average soil moisture over a large volume (up to tens of hectares) of terrain with only one probe, thus overcoming limitations arising from the heterogeneity of the soil. The present paper introduces the development of a new CRNS instrument designed for agricultural applications and based on an innovative neutron detector. The new instrument was applied and tested in two experimental fields located in Potsdam (DE, Germany) and Lagosanto (IT, Italy). The results highlight how the new detector could be a valid alternative and robust solution for the application of the CRNS technique for soil moisture measurements in agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Field Evaluation of a Spray Drift Risk Assessment Tool for Vineyard Spraying Application
Agriculture 2019, 9(8), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9080181 - 14 Aug 2019
Abstract
Spray drift is one of the most important causes of pollution from plant protection products and it puts the health of the environment, animals, and humans at risk. There is; thus, an urgent need to develop measures for its reduction. Among the factors [...] Read more.
Spray drift is one of the most important causes of pollution from plant protection products and it puts the health of the environment, animals, and humans at risk. There is; thus, an urgent need to develop measures for its reduction. Among the factors that affect spray drift are the weather conditions during application of spraying. The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a spray drift evaluation tool based on an existing model by TOPPS-Prowadis to improve the process of plant protection products’ application and to mitigate spray drift for specific meteorological conditions in Greece that are determined, based on weather forecast, by reassessing the limits for wind speed and direction, temperature, and air relative humidity set in the tool. The new limits were tested by conducting experimental work in the vineyard of the Agricultural University of Athens with a trailed air-assisted sprayer for bush and tree crops, using the ISO 22866:2005 methodology. The results showed that the limits set are consistent with the values of the spray drift measured and follows the tool’s estimates of low, medium, and high risk of spray drift. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Contribution to Trees Health Assessment Using Infrared Thermography
Agriculture 2019, 9(8), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9080171 - 02 Aug 2019
Abstract
Trees are essential natural resources for ecosystem balance, regional development, and urban greening. Preserving trees has become a crucial challenge for society. It is common for the use of invasive or even destructive techniques for health diagnosis of these living structures, and interventions [...] Read more.
Trees are essential natural resources for ecosystem balance, regional development, and urban greening. Preserving trees has become a crucial challenge for society. It is common for the use of invasive or even destructive techniques for health diagnosis of these living structures, and interventions after visual inspection. Therefore, the dissemination and implementation of increasingly less aggressive techniques for inspection, analysis and monitoring techniques are essential. The latest high-definition thermal cameras record thermal images of high resolution and sensitivity. Infrared thermography (IRT) is a promising technique for the inspection of trees because the tissue of the sap is practically on the surface of the living structure. The thermograms allow the identification of deteriorated tissues and to differentiate them from healthy tissues, and make an observation of the tree as a functional whole body. The aim of this study is to present, based on differences in the temperatures field given by the thermal images, a qualitative analysis of the status of two different arboreal species, Quercus pyrenaica Willd and Olea europaea L. The results show the IRT as an expeditious, non-invasive and promising technique for tree inspection, providing results that are not possible to reach by other methods and much less by a visual inspection. The work represents a contribution to make IRT a tree decision-making tool on the health status of trees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Early Detection of Zymoseptoria tritici in Winter Wheat by Infrared Thermography
Agriculture 2019, 9(7), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9070139 - 02 Jul 2019
Abstract
The use of thermography as a means of crop water status estimation is based on the assumption that a sufficient amount of soil moisture enables plants to transpire at potential rates resulting in cooler canopy than the surrounding air temperature. The same principle [...] Read more.
The use of thermography as a means of crop water status estimation is based on the assumption that a sufficient amount of soil moisture enables plants to transpire at potential rates resulting in cooler canopy than the surrounding air temperature. The same principle is applied in this study where the crop transpiration changes occur because of the fungal infection. The field experiment was conducted where 25 wheat genotypes were infected with Zymoseptoria tritici. The focus of this study was to predict the onset of the disease before the visual symptoms appeared on the plants. The results showed an early significant increase in the maximum temperature difference within the canopy from 1 to 7 days after inoculation (DAI). Biotic stress associated with increasing level of disease can be seen in the increasing average canopy temperature (ACT) and maximum temperature difference (MTD) and decreasing canopy temperature depression (CTD). However, only MTD (p ≤ 0.01) and CTD (p ≤ 0.05) parameters were significantly related to the disease level and can be used to predict the onset of fungal infection on wheat. The potential of thermography as a non-invasive high throughput phenotyping technique for early fungal disease detection in wheat was evident in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Cultivated Area, Field Boundary and Overlapping for A Plowing Operation Using ISO 11783 Communication and D-GNSS Position Data
Agriculture 2019, 9(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9020038 - 19 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Easily available and detailed area-related information is very valuable for the optimization of crop production processes in terms of, e.g., documentation and invoicing or detection of inefficiencies. The present study dealt with the development of algorithms to gain sophisticated information about different area-related [...] Read more.
Easily available and detailed area-related information is very valuable for the optimization of crop production processes in terms of, e.g., documentation and invoicing or detection of inefficiencies. The present study dealt with the development of algorithms to gain sophisticated information about different area-related parameters in a preferably automated way. Rear hitch position and wheel-based machine speed were recorded from ISO 11783 communication data during plowing with a mounted reversible moldboard plow. The data were georeferenced using the position information from a low-cost differential global navigation satellite system (D-GNSS) receiver. After the exclusion of non-work sequences from continuous data logs, single cultivated tracks were reconstructed, which represented as a whole the cultivated area of a field. Based on that, the boundary of the field and the included area were automatically detected with a slight overestimation of 1.4%. Different field parts were distinguished and single overlaps between the cultivated tracks were detected, which allowed a distinct assessment of the lateral and headland overlapping (2.05% and 3.96%, respectively). Incomplete information about the work state of the implement was identified as the main challenge to get precise results. With a few adaptions, the used methodology could be transferred to a wide range of mounted implements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
High-Resolution Multisensor Remote Sensing to Support Date Palm Farm Management
Agriculture 2019, 9(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9020026 - 31 Jan 2019
Abstract
Date palms are a valuable crop in areas with limited water availability such as the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, due to their hardiness in tough conditions. Increasing soil salinity and the spread of pests including the red palm weevil (RPW) are two [...] Read more.
Date palms are a valuable crop in areas with limited water availability such as the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, due to their hardiness in tough conditions. Increasing soil salinity and the spread of pests including the red palm weevil (RPW) are two examples of growing threats to date palm plantations. Separate studies have shown that thermal, multispectral, and hyperspectral remote sensing imagery can provide insight into the health of date palm plantations, but the added value of combining these datasets has not been investigated. The current study used available thermal, hyperspectral, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and visual Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images to investigate the possibilities of assessing date palm health at two “levels”; block level and individual tree level. Test blocks were defined into assumed healthy and unhealthy classes, and thermal and height data were extracted and compared. Due to distortions in the hyperspectral imagery, this data was only used for individual tree analysis; methods for identifying individual tree points using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) maps proved accurate. A total of 100 random test trees in one block were selected, and comparisons between hyperspectral, thermal and height data were made. For the vegetation index red-edge position (REP), the R-squared value in correlation with temperature was 0.313 and with height was 0.253. The vegetation index—the Vogelmann Red Edge Index (VOGI)—also has a relatively strong correlation value with both temperature (R2 = 0.227) and height (R2 = 0.213). Despite limited field data, the results of this study suggest that remote sensing data has added value in analyzing date palm plantations and could provide insight for precision agriculture techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of an Autonomous Electric Robot Implement for Intra-Row Weeding in Vineyards
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010018 - 10 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Intra-row weeding is a time consuming and challenging task. Therefore, a rotary weeder implement for an autonomous electrical robot was developed. It can be used to remove the weeds of the intra-row area of orchards and vineyards. The hydraulic motor of the conventional [...] Read more.
Intra-row weeding is a time consuming and challenging task. Therefore, a rotary weeder implement for an autonomous electrical robot was developed. It can be used to remove the weeds of the intra-row area of orchards and vineyards. The hydraulic motor of the conventional tool was replaced by an electric motor and some mechanical parts were refabricated to reduce the overall weight. The side shift, the height and the tilt adjustment were performed by linear electric motors. For detecting the trunk positions, two different methods were evaluated: A conventional electromechanical sensor (feeler) and a sonar sensor. The robot performed autonomous row following based on two dimensional laser scanner data. The robot prototype was evaluated at a forward speed of 0.16 ms−1 and a working depth of 40 mm. The overall performance of the two different trunk detection methods was tested and evaluated for quality and power consumption. The results indicated that an automated intra-row weeding robot could be an alternative solution to actual machinery. The overall performance of the sonar was better than the adjusted feeler in the performed tests. The combination of autonomous navigation and weeding could increase the weeding quality and decrease power consumption in future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Acquisition of Sorption and Drying Data with Embedded Devices: Improving Standard Models for High Oleic Sunflower Seeds by Continuous Measurements in Dynamic Systems
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010001 - 20 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Innovative methods were used to determine both sorption and drying data at temperatures typically found in the handling of agricultural products. A robust sorption measurement system using multiple microbalances and a high precision through flow laboratory dryer, both with continuous data acquisition, were [...] Read more.
Innovative methods were used to determine both sorption and drying data at temperatures typically found in the handling of agricultural products. A robust sorption measurement system using multiple microbalances and a high precision through flow laboratory dryer, both with continuous data acquisition, were employed as the basis for a water vapor deficit based approach in modeling the sorption and drying behavior of high oleic sunflower seeds. A coherent set of data for sorption (Temperature T = 25–50 °C, water activity aw = 0.10–0.95) and for drying (T = 30–90 °C, humidity of the drying air x = 0.010–0.020 kg·kg−1) was recorded for freshly harvested material. A generalized single-layer drying model was developed and validated (R2 = 0.99, MAPE = 8.3%). An analytical solution for predicting effective diffusion coefficients was also generated (R2 = 0.976, MAPE of 6.33%). The water vapor pressure deficit-based approach allows for an easy integration of meaningful parameters recorded during drying while maintaining low complexity of the underlying equations in order for embedded microcontrollers with limited processing power to be integrated in current agro-industrial applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Delineation of Agricultural Drainage Pipe Patterns Using Ground Penetrating Radar Integrated with a Real-Time Kinematic Global Navigation Satellite System
Agriculture 2018, 8(11), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8110167 - 24 Oct 2018
Abstract
Better methods are needed for mapping agricultural drainage pipe systems. Prior research on small test plots indicates that ground penetrating radar (GPR) is oftentimes capable of detecting buried drainage pipes; however, the feasibility of employing this geophysical technique in larger field areas has [...] Read more.
Better methods are needed for mapping agricultural drainage pipe systems. Prior research on small test plots indicates that ground penetrating radar (GPR) is oftentimes capable of detecting buried drainage pipes; however, the feasibility of employing this geophysical technique in larger field areas has not been adequately evaluated. Ground penetrating radar integrated with a Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) may be an effective and efficient means of mapping drain lines within agricultural fields. Therefore, GPR-RTK/GNSS was tested in three agricultural settings; with Site 1 and Site 2 located in Beltsville, MD, USA and Site 3 near Columbus, OH, USA. Soils at the three sites ranged from silty clay loam to loamy sand. A GPR unit with 250 MHz antennas was used to detect drainage pipes, and at Sites 1 and 2, a physical GNSS base station was utilized, while a virtual base station was employed at Site 3. The GPR-RTK/GNSS configurations used in this study delineated a complex rectangular drainage pipe system at Site 1, with one set of drainage pipes oriented southwest-northeast and a second oriented southeast-northwest. At Site 2, a herringbone drain line pattern was outlined, and at Site 3, random drain lines were found. When integrated with RTK/GNSS, spiral or serpentine GPR transects (or spiral/serpentine segments of a GPR transects) were utilized to provide insight on drain line directional trends. Consequently, given suitable field conditions, GPR integrated with RTK/GNSS can be a valuable tool for farmers and drainage contractors needing to map subsurface drainage systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Utilisation of Ground and Airborne Optical Sensors for Nitrogen Level Identification and Yield Prediction in Wheat
Agriculture 2018, 8(6), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8060079 - 08 Jun 2018
Abstract
A healthy crop growth ensures a good biomass development for optimal yield amounts and qualities. This can only be achieved with sufficient knowledge about field conditions. In this study we investigated the performance of optical sensors in large field trails, to predict yield [...] Read more.
A healthy crop growth ensures a good biomass development for optimal yield amounts and qualities. This can only be achieved with sufficient knowledge about field conditions. In this study we investigated the performance of optical sensors in large field trails, to predict yield and biomass characteristics. This publication investigated how information fusion can support farming decisions. We present the results of four site-year studies with one fluorescence sensor and two spectrometers mounted on a ground sensor platform, and one spectrometer built into a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The measurements have been carried out in three winter wheat fields (Triticum aestivum L.) with different Nitrogen (N) levels. The sensor raw data have been processed and converted to features (indices and ratios) that correlate with field information and biological parameters. The aerial spectrometer indices showed correlations with the ground truth data only for site-year 2. FERARI (Fluorescence Excitation Ratio Anthocyanin Relative Index) and SFR (Simple Fluorescence Ratio) from the Multiplex® Research fluorometer (MP) in 2012 showed significant correlations with yield (Adj. r 2 ≤ 0.63), and the NDVI (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index) and OSAVI (Optimized Soil-Adjusted Vegetation Index) of the FieldSpec HandHeld sensor (FS) even higher correlations with an Adj. r 2 ≤ 0.67. Concerning the available N (N avail ), the REIP (Red-Edge Inflection Point) and CropSpec indices from the FS sensor had a high correlation (Adj. r 2 ≤ 0.86), while the MP ratio SFR was slightly lower (Adj. r 2 ≤ 0.67). Concerning the biomass weight, the REIP and SAVI indices had an Adj. r 2 ≤ 0.78, and the FERARI and SFR ratios an Adj. r 2 ≤ 0.85. The indices of the HandySpec Field ® spectrometer gave a lower significance level than the FS sensor, and lower correlations (Adj. r 2 ≤ 0.64) over all field measurements. The features of MP and FS sensor have been used to create a feature fusion model. A developed linear model for site-year 4 has been used for evaluating the rest of the data sets. The used model did not correlate on a significant de novo level but by changing only one parameter, it resulted in a significant correlation. The data analysis reveals that by increasing mixed features from different sensors in a model, the higher and more robust the r 2 values became. New advanced algorithms, in combination with existent map overlay approaches, have the potential of complete and weighted decision fusion, to ensure the maximum yield for each specific field condition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Food System Digitalization as a Means to Promote Food and Nutrition Security in the Barents Region
Agriculture 2019, 9(8), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9080168 - 01 Aug 2019
Abstract
The consumption of food and its safety are important for human security. In this paper, we reviewed the literature on future possibilities for transforming the food system through digital solutions in the Barents region. Such digital solutions will make food business operators more [...] Read more.
The consumption of food and its safety are important for human security. In this paper, we reviewed the literature on future possibilities for transforming the food system through digital solutions in the Barents region. Such digital solutions will make food business operators more efficient, sustainable, and transparent. Developing cross-border infrastructures for digitalization in the region will break the isolation of the local food system, thus simplifying the availability of processed, novel and safe traditional food products. It is necessary for food growers and processors to respond to the trends driven by consumers’ demand while ensuring their safety. Our review highlights the opportunities provided by digital technology to ensure safety and help food business operators predict consumer trends in the future. In addition, digitalization can create conditions that are necessary for the diversification of organizational schemes and the effective monitoring of food processing operations that will help to promote food and nutrition security in the Barents region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessReview
Infrared Thermography Applied to Tree Health Assessment: A Review
Agriculture 2019, 9(7), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9070156 - 15 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The tree is a fundamental living being. It contributes to nature and climate behaviour, as well to urban greening. It is also a source of wealth and employment. Most tree health inspection techniques are invasive or even destructive. Infrared thermography (IRT) is not [...] Read more.
The tree is a fundamental living being. It contributes to nature and climate behaviour, as well to urban greening. It is also a source of wealth and employment. Most tree health inspection techniques are invasive or even destructive. Infrared thermography (IRT) is not invasive, and it has shown advantages when applied for inspection to trees and wood to detect deterioration or voids that could compromise its structure, stability, and durability. This study reviews the literature about IRT applied to a tree health inspection. It is framed in the context of the importance of trees for the balance of ecosystems, and the different techniques to detect tree deterioration. It highlights the difference when applied to wood or trees and the main factors that have been proven to cause disturbances in the thermal pattern of trees. The IRT, as other non-destructive methods, does not distinguish what type of damage it is, nor its causative agent. However, it enables identifying healthy and deteriorated tissues. The technology is very promising since it reveals that is efficient, fast, economical, and sustainable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Other

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Open AccessTechnical Note
Assessing Topsoil Movement in Rotary Harrowing Process by RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) Technique
Agriculture 2019, 9(8), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9080184 - 19 Aug 2019
Abstract
Harrowing is a process that reduces the size of soil clods and prepares the field for seeding. Rotary harrows are a common piece of equipment in North Italy that consists of teeth rotating around a vertical axis with a processing depth of 5–15 [...] Read more.
Harrowing is a process that reduces the size of soil clods and prepares the field for seeding. Rotary harrows are a common piece of equipment in North Italy that consists of teeth rotating around a vertical axis with a processing depth of 5–15 cm. In this study, the topsoil movement in terms of distance and direction were estimated at different rotary harrow working conditions. A total of eight tests was performed using two forward speeds of 1 and 3 km/h, two working depths of 6 and 10 cm and two levelling bar positions of 0 and 10 cm from the ground. In order to simulate and follow topsoil movement, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags were inserted into cork stoppers and distributed in a regular pattern over the soil. Tags were distributed in six lines along the working width and repeated in three rows for each test: a total number of 144 tags was tracked. Results showed that there were no significant differences between the performed tests, on the other hand the reported tests highlight the effectiveness of the RFID monitoring approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessTechnical Note
Calibration and Validation of a Low-Cost Capacitive Moisture Sensor to Integrate the Automated Soil Moisture Monitoring System
Agriculture 2019, 9(7), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9070141 - 04 Jul 2019
Abstract
Readily available moisture in the root zone is very important for optimum plant growth. The available techniques to determine soil moisture content have practical limitations owing to their high cost, dependence on labor, and time consumption. We have developed a prototype for automated [...] Read more.
Readily available moisture in the root zone is very important for optimum plant growth. The available techniques to determine soil moisture content have practical limitations owing to their high cost, dependence on labor, and time consumption. We have developed a prototype for automated soil moisture monitoring using a low-cost capacitive soil moisture sensor (SKU:SEN0193) for data acquisition, connected to the internet. A soil-specific calibration was performed to integrate the sensor with the automated soil moisture monitoring system. The accuracy of the soil moisture measurements was compared with those of a gravimetric method and a well-established soil moisture sensor (SM-200, Delta-T Devices Ltd, Cambridge, UK). The root-mean-square error (RMSE) of the soil water contents obtained with the SKU:SEN0193 sensor function, the SM-200 manufacturer’s function, and the SM-200 soil-specific calibration function were 0.09, 0.07, and 0.06 cm3 cm−3, for samples in the dry to saturated range, and 0.05, 0.08, and 0.03 cm3 cm−3, for samples in the field capacity range. The repeatability of the measurements recorded with the developed calibration function support the potential use of the SKU:SEN0193 sensor to minimize the risk of soil moisture stress or excess water application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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