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Special Issue "Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Intelligent Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (19 April 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Giovanni Battista Chirico
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Giovanni Battista Chirico, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
Interests: hydrology and hydraulic engineering
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Francesco Bonavolontà
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Interests: AR/VR-based distributed measurement systems; electrical and electronics engineering; measurement; signal processing; wireless sensor networks
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The 2019 IEEE International Workshop on Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry (https://www.metroagrifor.org/) will be held in Naples, Italy, 24–26 October 2019. Authors of papers in topics of interest to Sensors who present at this workshop are invited to submit extended versions of their work to the related Special Issue for publication.

MetroAgriFor intends to create an active and stimulating forum where academics, researchers, and industry experts in the field of measurement and data processing techniques for Agriculture, Forestry, and Food can meet and share new advances and research results. Attention is given, but not limited to, new technologies for agriculture and forestry environment monitoring, food quality monitoring, metrology-assisted production in agriculture, forestry and food industries, sensors and associated signal conditioning for agriculture and forestry, and calibration methods for electronic tests and measurements for environmental and food applications.

Topics:

  • Sensor networking and integration
  • Approaches and tools for measuring food quality
  • Soil analysis, mapping, and monitoring
  • Crop analysis, mapping, and monitoring
  • Precision agriculture, forestry and livestock farming
  • Measurements for agriculture, forestry, and environment
  • Agroclimatic measurements

Prof. Giovanni Battista Chirico
Dr. Francesco Bonavolontà
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. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2000 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.

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019
Sensors 2020, 20(12), 3498; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20123498 - 21 Jun 2020
Abstract
This Special Issue is focused on recent advances in integrated monitoring and modelling technologies for agriculture and forestry. The selected contributions cover a wide range of topics, including wireless field sensing systems, satellite and UAV remote sensing, ICT and IoT applications for smart [...] Read more.
This Special Issue is focused on recent advances in integrated monitoring and modelling technologies for agriculture and forestry. The selected contributions cover a wide range of topics, including wireless field sensing systems, satellite and UAV remote sensing, ICT and IoT applications for smart farming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Soil Management Effect on Crop Productivity and Vegetation Indices Accuracy in Mediterranean Cereal-Based Cropping Systems
Sensors 2020, 20(12), 3383; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20123383 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Mostly, precision agriculture applications include the acquisition and elaboration of images, and it is fundamental to understand how farmers’ practices, such as soil management, affect those images and relate to the vegetation index. We investigated how long-term conservation agriculture practices, in comparison with [...] Read more.
Mostly, precision agriculture applications include the acquisition and elaboration of images, and it is fundamental to understand how farmers’ practices, such as soil management, affect those images and relate to the vegetation index. We investigated how long-term conservation agriculture practices, in comparison with conventional practices, can affect the yield components and the accuracy of five vegetation indexes. The experimental site is a part of a long-term experiment established in 1994 and is still ongoing that consists of a rainfed 2-year rotation with durum wheat and maize, where two unfertilized soil managements were repeated in the same plots every year. This study shows the superiority of no tillage over conventional tillage for both nutritional and productive aspects on durum wheat. The soil management affects the vegetation indexes’ accuracy, which is related to the nitrogen nutrition status. No-tillage management, which is characterized by a higher content of soil organic matter and nitrogen availability into the soil, allows obtaining a higher accuracy than the conventional tillage. So, the users of multispectral cameras for precision agriculture applications must take into account the soil management, organic matter, and nitrogen content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Crop Management in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Systems Using Predictive Mathematical Models
Sensors 2020, 20(11), 3110; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20113110 - 31 May 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Proximal sensors in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) are used to monitor plant growth, yield, and water consumption with non-destructive technologies. Rapid and continuous monitoring of environmental and crop parameters may be used to develop mathematical models to predict crop response to microclimatic changes. [...] Read more.
Proximal sensors in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) are used to monitor plant growth, yield, and water consumption with non-destructive technologies. Rapid and continuous monitoring of environmental and crop parameters may be used to develop mathematical models to predict crop response to microclimatic changes. Here, we applied the energy cascade model (MEC) on green- and red-leaf butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. capitata). We tooled up the model to describe the changing leaf functional efficiency during the growing period. We validated the model on an independent dataset with two different vapor pressure deficit (VPD) levels, corresponding to nominal (low VPD) and off-nominal (high VPD) conditions. Under low VPD, the modified model accurately predicted the transpiration rate (RMSE = 0.10 Lm−2), edible biomass (RMSE = 6.87 g m−2), net-photosynthesis (rBIAS = 34%), and stomatal conductance (rBIAS = 39%). Under high VPD, the model overestimated photosynthesis and stomatal conductance (rBIAS = 76–68%). This inconsistency is likely due to the empirical nature of the original model, which was designed for nominal conditions. Here, applications of the modified model are discussed, and possible improvements are suggested based on plant morpho-physiological changes occurring in sub-optimal scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Integration of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 Data for Land Cover Mapping Using W-Net
Sensors 2020, 20(10), 2969; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20102969 - 24 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this paper, we present a new approach to the fusion of Sentinel 1 (S1) and Sentinel 2 (S2) data for land cover mapping. The proposed solution aims at improving methods based on Sentinel 2 data, that are unusable in case of cloud [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present a new approach to the fusion of Sentinel 1 (S1) and Sentinel 2 (S2) data for land cover mapping. The proposed solution aims at improving methods based on Sentinel 2 data, that are unusable in case of cloud cover. This goal is achieved by using S1 data to generate S2-like segmentation maps to be used to integrate S2 acquisitions forbidden by cloud cover. In particular, we propose for the first time in remote sensing a multi-temporal W-Net approach for the segmentation of Interferometric Wide swath mode (IW) Sentinel-1 data collected along ascending/descending orbit to discriminate rice, water, and bare soil. The quantitative assessment of segmentation accuracy shows an improvement of 0.18 and 0.25 in terms of accuracy and F1-score by applying the proposed multi-temporal procedure with respect to the previous single-date approach. Advantages and disadvantages of the proposed W-Net based solution have been tested in the National Park of Albufera, Valencia, and we show a performance gain in terms of the classical metrics used in segmentation tasks and the computational time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Reflections and Methodological Proposals to Treat the Concept of “Information Precision” in Smart Agriculture Practices
Sensors 2020, 20(10), 2847; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20102847 - 17 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Smart Agriculture (SA) is an evolution of Precision Farming (PF). It has technological basis very close to the paradigms of Industry 4.0 (Ind-4.0), so that it is also often referred to as Agriculture 4.0. After the proposal of a brief historical examination that [...] Read more.
Smart Agriculture (SA) is an evolution of Precision Farming (PF). It has technological basis very close to the paradigms of Industry 4.0 (Ind-4.0), so that it is also often referred to as Agriculture 4.0. After the proposal of a brief historical examination that provides a conceptual frame to the above terms, the common aspects of SA and Ind-4.0 are analyzed. These are primarily to be found in the cognitive approaches of Knowledge Management 4.0 (KM4.0, the actual theoretical basis of Ind-4.0), which underlines the need to use Integrated Information Systems (IIS) to manage all the activity areas of any production system. Based upon an infological approach, “raw data” becomes “information” only when useful to (or actually used in) a decision-making process. Thus, an IIS must be always designed according to such a view, and KM4.0 conditions the way of collecting and processing data on farms, together with the “information precision” by which the production system is managed. Such precision needs, on their turn, depend on the hierarchical level and the “Macrodomain of Prevailing Interest” (MPI) related to each decision, where the latter identifies a predominant viewpoint through which a system can be analyzed according to a prevailing purpose. Four main MPIs are here proposed: (1) physical and chemical, (2) biological and ecological, (3) productive and hierarchical, and (4) economic and social. In each MPI, the quality of the knowledge depends on the cognitive level and the maturity of the methodological approaches there achieved. The reliability of information tends to decrease from the first to the fourth MPI; lower the reliability, larger the tolerance margins that a measurement systems must ensure. Some practical examples are then discussed, taking into account some IIS-monitoring solutions of increasing complexity in relation to information integration needs and related data fusion approaches. The analysis concludes with the proposal of new operational indications for the verification and certification of the reliability of the information on the entire decision-making chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
A Smart Sensor-Based Measurement System for Advanced Bee Hive Monitoring
Sensors 2020, 20(9), 2726; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20092726 - 10 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The widespread decline of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies registered in recent years has raised great attention to the need of gathering deeper knowledge about this phenomenon, by observing the colonies’ activity to identify possible causes, and design corresponding countermeasures. In [...] Read more.
The widespread decline of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies registered in recent years has raised great attention to the need of gathering deeper knowledge about this phenomenon, by observing the colonies’ activity to identify possible causes, and design corresponding countermeasures. In fact, honey bees have well-known positive effects on both the environment and human life, and their preservation becomes critical not only for ecological reasons, but also for the social and economic development of rural communities. Smart sensor systems are being developed for real-time and long-term measurement of relevant parameters related to beehive conditions, such as the hive weight, sounds emitted by the bees, temperature, humidity, and CO 2 inside the beehive, as well as weather conditions outside. This paper presents a multisensor platform designed to measure the aforementioned parameters from beehives deployed in the field, and shows how the fusion of different sensor measurements may provide insights on the status of the colony, its interaction with the surrounding environment, and the influence of climatic conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
A Night at the OPERA: A Conceptual Framework for an Integrated Distributed Sensor Network-Based System to Figure out Safety Protocols for Animals under Risk of Fire
Sensors 2020, 20(9), 2538; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20092538 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Large scale wildfire events that occurred around the world involved a massive loss of animal lives, with a consequent economic impact on agricultural holdings and damages to ecosystems. Preparing animals for a wildfire evacuation requires an extra level of planning, preparedness and coordination, [...] Read more.
Large scale wildfire events that occurred around the world involved a massive loss of animal lives, with a consequent economic impact on agricultural holdings and damages to ecosystems. Preparing animals for a wildfire evacuation requires an extra level of planning, preparedness and coordination, which is missing in the current practice. This paper describes a conceptual framework of an ICT system implemented to support the activities of the Regional Veterinary referral Center for non-epidemic emergencies (CeRVEnE) in the Campania Region for the twofold objectives. On the one hand, it realizes the monitoring of the wooded areas under risk of fire in the so-called “Mount Vesuvius’ red zone”. On the other hand, it determines the OPtimal Evacuation Route for Animals (OPERA) in case of fire, for each of the reported animal species living in the mentioned red zone. The main innovation of the proposed system lies in its software architecture that aims at integrating a Distributed Sensor Network (DSN), an ad-hoc software to generate timely simulations for fire risk modeling, and a GIS (Geographic Information System) for both the activities of web mapping and OPERA definition. This paper shows some effective preliminary results of the system implementation. The importance of the system mainly lies in its accordance with the so-called “Foresight approach” perspective, that provides models and tools to guarantee the prevention of systematic failure in disaster risk management, and becomes moreover critical in the case of Mount Vesuvius, which hosts a unique combination of both animal and anthropic elements within a delicate natural ecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
UAV and Machine Learning Based Refinement of a Satellite-Driven Vegetation Index for Precision Agriculture
Sensors 2020, 20(9), 2530; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20092530 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Precision agriculture is considered to be a fundamental approach in pursuing a low-input, high-efficiency, and sustainable kind of agriculture when performing site-specific management practices. To achieve this objective, a reliable and updated description of the local status of crops is required. Remote sensing, [...] Read more.
Precision agriculture is considered to be a fundamental approach in pursuing a low-input, high-efficiency, and sustainable kind of agriculture when performing site-specific management practices. To achieve this objective, a reliable and updated description of the local status of crops is required. Remote sensing, and in particular satellite-based imagery, proved to be a valuable tool in crop mapping, monitoring, and diseases assessment. However, freely available satellite imagery with low or moderate resolutions showed some limits in specific agricultural applications, e.g., where crops are grown by rows. Indeed, in this framework, the satellite’s output could be biased by intra-row covering, giving inaccurate information about crop status. This paper presents a novel satellite imagery refinement framework, based on a deep learning technique which exploits information properly derived from high resolution images acquired by unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) airborne multispectral sensors. To train the convolutional neural network, only a single UAV-driven dataset is required, making the proposed approach simple and cost-effective. A vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba (Northern Italy) was chosen as a case study for validation purposes. Refined satellite-driven normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) maps, acquired in four different periods during the vine growing season, were shown to better describe crop status with respect to raw datasets by correlation analysis and ANOVA. In addition, using a K-means based classifier, 3-class vineyard vigor maps were profitably derived from the NDVI maps, which are a valuable tool for growers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
LoRaFarM: A LoRaWAN-Based Smart Farming Modular IoT Architecture
Sensors 2020, 20(7), 2028; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20072028 - 04 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Presently, the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT)-related technologies in the Smart Farming domain is rapidly emerging. The ultimate goal is to collect, monitor, and effectively employ relevant data for agricultural processes, with the purpose of achieving an optimized and more environmentally sustainable [...] Read more.
Presently, the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT)-related technologies in the Smart Farming domain is rapidly emerging. The ultimate goal is to collect, monitor, and effectively employ relevant data for agricultural processes, with the purpose of achieving an optimized and more environmentally sustainable agriculture. In this paper, a low-cost, modular, and Long-Range Wide-Area Network (LoRaWAN)-based IoT platform, denoted as “LoRaWAN-based Smart Farming Modular IoT Architecture” (LoRaFarM), and aimed at improving the management of generic farms in a highly customizable way, is presented. The platform, built around a core middleware, is easily extensible with ad-hoc low-level modules (feeding the middleware with data coming from the sensors deployed in the farm) or high-level modules (providing advanced functionalities to the farmer). The proposed platform has been evaluated in a real farm in Italy, collecting environmental data (air/soil temperature and humidity) related to the growth of farm products (namely grapes and greenhouse vegetables) over a period of three months. A web-based visualization tool for the collected data is also presented, to validate the LoRaFarM architecture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Application of A Precision Apiculture System to Monitor Honey Daily Production
Sensors 2020, 20(7), 2012; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20072012 - 03 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Precision beekeeping or precision apiculture is an apiary management strategy based on the monitoring of individual bee colonies to minimize resource consumption and maximize the productivity of bees. Bees play a fundamental role in ensuring pollination; they can also be considered as indicators [...] Read more.
Precision beekeeping or precision apiculture is an apiary management strategy based on the monitoring of individual bee colonies to minimize resource consumption and maximize the productivity of bees. Bees play a fundamental role in ensuring pollination; they can also be considered as indicators of the state of pollution and are used as bio monitors. Beekeeping needs continuous monitoring of the animals and can benefit from advanced intelligent ambiance technologies. The aim of this study was the design of a precision apiculture system (PAS) platform for monitoring and controlling the following environmental parameters: wind, temperature, and relative humidity inside and outside the hive, in order to assess their influence on honey production. PAS is based on an Arduino board with an Atmel microcontroller, and the connection of a load cell for recording the weight of the hive, relative humidity and temperature sensor inside the hive, and relative humidity and temperature sensor outside the hive using an anemometer. PAS was installed in common hives and placed in an open field in a French honeysuckle plot; the system was developed to operate in continuous mode, monitoring the period of 24 April–1 June 2019. Temperature was constant in the monitored period, around 35 °C, inside the hive, proving that no criticalities occurred regarding swarming or absconding. In the period between 24 and 28 May, a lack of honey production was recorded, attributed to a lowering of the external temperature. PAS was useful to point out the eventual reduction in honey production due to wind; several peaks of windiness exceeding 5 m s−1 were recorded, noting that honey production decreases with the peaks in wind. Therefore, the data recorded by PAS platform provided a valid decisional support to the operator. It can be implemented by inserting additional sensors for detecting other parameters, such as rain or sound. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Predicting Crop Evapotranspiration by Integrating Ground and Remote Sensors with Air Temperature Forecasts
Sensors 2020, 20(6), 1740; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20061740 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Water use efficiency in agriculture can be improved by implementing advisory systems that support on-farm irrigation scheduling, with reliable forecasts of the actual crop water requirements, where crop evapotranspiration (ETc) is the main component. The development of such advisory systems is [...] Read more.
Water use efficiency in agriculture can be improved by implementing advisory systems that support on-farm irrigation scheduling, with reliable forecasts of the actual crop water requirements, where crop evapotranspiration (ETc) is the main component. The development of such advisory systems is highly dependent upon the availability of timely updated crop canopy parameters and weather forecasts several days in advance, at low operational costs. This study presents a methodology for forecasting ETc, based on crop parameters retrieved from multispectral images, data from ground weather sensors, and air temperature forecasts. Crop multispectral images are freely provided by recent satellite missions, with high spatial and temporal resolutions. Meteorological services broadcast air temperature forecasts with lead times of several days, at no subscription costs, and with high accuracy. The performance of the proposed methodology was applied at 18 sites of the Campania region in Italy, by exploiting the data of intensive field campaigns in the years 2014–2015. ETc measurements were forecast with a median bias of 0.2 mm, and a median root mean square error (RMSE) of 0.75 mm at the first day of forecast. At the 5th day of accumulated forecast, the median bias and RMSE become 1 mm and 2.75 mm, respectively. The forecast performances were proved to be as accurate and as precise as those provided with a complete set of forecasted weather variables. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
AgriLogger: A New Wireless Sensor for Monitoring Agrometeorological Data in Areas Lacking Communication Networks
Sensors 2020, 20(6), 1589; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20061589 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
The use of wireless technologies in the field of agriculture, or so-called smart or precision agriculture, is considered as one of the main efforts applied nowadays to multiply the food production on earth. However, wireless sensor network (WSN) technology is still at its [...] Read more.
The use of wireless technologies in the field of agriculture, or so-called smart or precision agriculture, is considered as one of the main efforts applied nowadays to multiply the food production on earth. However, wireless sensor network (WSN) technology is still at its early development stage and its application in agriculture and food industry is still rare due to the lack of farmers’ awareness and outreach about the matter. This paper presents a new agro-sensor named AgriLogger with an aim to collect, store for long periods and transmit agrometeorological data represented by temperature and relative humidity in remote areas hard to reach and not served by telecommunication networks. The sensor exhibits long battery life, in the order of 10 years, thanks to low consumption technologies and to hardware sleep/wake up approach. It can be remotely placed on preselected sites through a customized drone. This latter, equipped with a dedicated payload, can then return on the sites where sensors have been placed, and, while hovering, wakes up the single devices and uploads their collected data through local wireless network. Field tests have demonstrated that the sensor, after being placed manually in two different positions, inside and outside a vineyard canopy, is able to collect and store successfully agrometeorological data like temperature and relative humidity. Moreover, the use of a drone potentially allows the collection of data from remote areas and, therefore, is able to provide a periodical monitoring of agro-ecological conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry 2019)
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