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Taking plant science research to the next level

Growing populations and food demands create greater reliance on increased agricultural output and efficiency. Plant science research today involves many disciplines in developing tools and processes that produce new, more functional crop varieties. Experiments have become more data-intensive and collaborative, and it is imperative that researchers find efficient ways to manage data streams.

High-performance computing and advances in automation and imaging of plants has presented tremendous opportunities for data collection but challenges the way we store, aggregate, and analyze data in a systematic way.

In the era of “big data,” researchers have less time but greater responsibility to make use of this data. This is what the Smarter Ag® platform addresses – interoperability. Imaging solutions are in place for Purdue researchers to collect data in the field and in controlled environments. This image-derived data will be delivered in a cohesive fashion for more robust analysis through the Smarter Ag® platform.

Provided by the Purdue Institute for Plant Sciences, the Smarter Ag® platform is a secure framework that allows plant science researchers to stay competitive while getting the most out of their data.

High-end tools at a low cost

Precision Measurement Zone

Free pilot program for Purdue researchers using well-tested remote sensing tools to collect aerial image data in the field to assist in modeling measurable traits of interest. Preliminary data is collected using a five-band multispectral camera and processed by data analyst Rick Westerman. This is an experimental trial to develop best practices for remote sensing and learn how a large-scale project might work in practice.

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Aerial Remote Sensing

Low cost unmanned aerial systems (UAS) services are available through contracted flights using professional pilots and custom-built, commercial aircraft designed for agricultural sensing in the field.

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Controlled Environments

Hyperspectral and digital imaging capabilities are available through small scale, manually operated to high-throughput, fully automated systems. Purdue’s new Controlled Environment Phenotyping Facility (CEPF) coming 2018 will image up to 277 plants per hour and up to four meter in height at full capacity using digital RGB and hyperspectral sensors for optimal throughput. Image data will be cataloged using integrated Zegami software.

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Safe and efficient phenotyping operations

Field alert system

Notification system allows Purdue researchers at the Agronomy Center for Research and Education (ACRE) to stay informed on field conditions, general farm information, or emergency alerts. Notifications are pushed via text and email to ensure safe and efficient operations on the farm. For example, farm superintendent can notify of an upcoming spraying so users are informed and ready to take precautionary measure.

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