Corn planting quality assessment in very high-resolution RGB UAV imagery using Yolov5 and Python
- NOVA Information Management School (NOVA IMS), Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Campus de Campolide, 1070-312 Lisbon, Portugal
Keywords: precision agriculture, unmanned aerial vehicle, very high-resolution imagery, machine learning, sowing quality, corn
Abstract. Uniform plant spacing along crop rows is a primary concern in maximising yield in precision agriculture, and research has shown that variation in this spacing uniformity has a detrimental effect on productive potential. This irregularity needs to be evaluated as early and efficiently as possible to facilitate effective decision-making. Traditionally, variation in seedling spacing is sampled manually on site, however recent technological developments have made it possible to refine, scale and automate this process. Using machine-learning (ML) object detection techniques, plants can be detected in very high-resolution RGB (redgreen-blue) imagery acquired by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and after processing and geometric analysis of the results a measurement of the variability in intra-row plant distances can be obtained. This proposed technique is superior to traditional methods since the sampling can be made over more area in less time, and the results are more representative and objective. The main benefits are speed, accuracy and cost reduction. This work aims to demonstrate the feasibility of automatically assessing sowing quality in any number of images, using ML object detection and the Shapely Python library for geometrical analysis. The prototype model can detect 99.35% of corn plants in test data from the same field, but also detects 1.89% false positives. Our geometric analysis algorithm has been shown to be robust in finding planting rows orientation and interplant lines in test cases. The result is a coefficient of variation (CV) calculated per sample image, which can be visualised geographically to support decision-making.