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Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Nitrogen Sensors on Planes

Powerful Sensors on Planes Detect Crop Nitrogen with High Accuracy

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences

Lauren Quinn, January 13, 2022

A team of University of Illinois (U of I) researchers equipped small aircraft with hyperspectral sensors to detect nitrogen status and photosynthetic capacity in corn. The sensors, which can detect visible and near-infrared wavelengths, were flown over an experimental field three times during the 2019 growing season. Each time, the sensors identified leaf and canopy nitrogen characteristics, including some related to photosynthetic capacity and grain yield, with up to 85% accuracy, which U of I's Kaiyu Guan described as "close to ground-truth quality." U of I's Sheng Wang said, "Our approach fills a gap between field measurements and satellites and provides a cost-effective and highly accurate approach to crop nitrogen management in sustainable precision agriculture."

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