Expert sensor for site-specific application of agricultural chemicals: Final report, project no. US-2415-94

Yael Edan, Avshalom Grinstein, Amots Hetzroni, Thomas N Jordan, Gaines E Miles, F. Tom Turpin

Research output: Book/ReportReport


In this work multispectral reflectance images are used in conjunction with a neural network classifier for the purpose of detecting and classifying weeds under real field conditions. Multispectral reflectance images which contained different combinations of weeds and crops were taken under actual field conditions. This multispectral reflectance information was used to develop algorithms that could segment the plants from the background as well as classify them into weeds or crops. In order to segment the plants from the background the multispectrial reflectance of plants and background were studied and a relationship was derived. It was found that using a ratio of two wavelength reflectance images (750nm and 670nm) it was possible to segment the plants from the background. Once this was accomplished it was then possible to classify the segmented images into weed or crop by use of the neural network. The neural network developed for this work is a modification of the standard learning vector quantization algorithm. This neural network was modified by replacing the time-varying adaptation gain with a constant adaptation gain and a binary reinforcement function. This improved accuracy and training time as well as introducing several new properties such as hill climbing and momentum addition. The network was trained and tested with different wavelength combinations in order to find the best results. Finally, the results of the classifier were evaluated using a pixel based method and a block based method. In the pixel based method every single pixel is evaluated to test whether it was classified correctly or not and the best weed classification results were 81% and its associated crop classification accuracy is 57%. In the block based classification method, the image was divided into blocks and each block was evaluated to determine whether they contained weeds or not. Different block sizes and thesholds were tested. The best results for this method were 97% for a block size of 8 inches and a pixel threshold of 60. A simulation model was developed to 1) quantify the effectiveness of a site-specific sprayer, 2) evaluate influence of diffeent design parameters on efficiency of the site-specific sprayer. In each iteration of this model, infected areas (weed patches) in the field were randomly generated and the amount of required herbicides for spraying these areas were calculated. The effectiveness of the sprayer was estimated for different stain sizes, nozzle types (conic and flat), nozzle sizes and stain detection levels of the identification system. Simulation results indicated that the flat nozzle is much more effective as compared to the conic nozzle and its relative efficiency is greater for small nozzle sizes. By using a site-specific sprayer, the average ratio between the spraying areas and the stain areas is about 1.1 to 1.8 which can save up to 92% of herbicides, especially when the proportion of the stain areas is small.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBet Dagan
Number of pages30
StatePublished - 1999

Publication series

NameUnited States-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund Research Project


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