Automation solutions for the evaluation of plant health in corn fields

Dimitris Zermas, Da Teng, Panagiotis Stanitsas, Mike E Bazakos, Daniel Kaiser, Vassilios Morellas, D J Mulla, Nikolaos P Papanikolopoulos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

27 Scopus citations


The continuously growing need for increasing the production of food and reducing the degradation of water supplies, has led to the development of several precision agriculture systems over the past decade so as to meet the needs of modern societies. The present study describes a methodology for the detection and characterization of Nitrogen (N) deficiencies in corn fields. Current methods of field surveillance are either completed manually or with the assistance of satellite imaging, which offer infrequent and costly information to the farmers about the state of their fields. The proposed methodology promotes the use of small-scale Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Computer Vision algorithms that operate with information in the visual (RGB) spectrum. Through this implementation, a lower cost solution for identifying N deficiencies is promoted. We provide extensive results on the use of commercial RGB sensors for delivering the essential information to farmers regarding the condition of their field, targeting the reduction of N fertilizers and the increase of the crop performance. Data is first collected by a UAV that hovers over a stressed area and collects high resolution RGB images at a low altitude. A recommendation algorithm identifies potential segments of the images that are candidates exhibiting N deficiency. Based on the feedback from experts in the area a training set is constructed utilizing the initial suggestions of the recommendation algorithm. Supervised learning methods are then used to characterize crop leaves that exhibit signs of N deficiency. The performance of 84.2% strongly supports the potential of this scheme to identify N-deficient leaves even in the case of images where the unhealthy leaves are heavily occluded by other healthy or stressed leaves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIROS Hamburg 2015 - Conference Digest
Subtitle of host publicationIEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781479999941
StatePublished - Dec 11 2015
EventIEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2015 - Hamburg, Germany
Duration: Sep 28 2015Oct 2 2015

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
ISSN (Print)2153-0858
ISSN (Electronic)2153-0866


OtherIEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 IEEE.


  • Machine Learning
  • Precision Agriculture
  • UAV


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