The Roundup -

Gautam Pradhan to Speak at WREC Dryland Field Day

NDSU WREC Dryland Field Days July 11-12, 2018


Gautam Pradhan, Williston Research Extension Center's Dryland Research Agronomist, will be speaking at 6:20 p.m. at WREC's Dryland Field Day on Wednesday, July 11th. He will be sharing information from his research on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in crop production and also details on how they can be used for precision field management.

The project Pradhan will be speaking on will determine the applicability of Unmanned Ariel Systems (UAS) based high throughput phenotyping in the identification of drought tolerant cereal genotypes. "We anticipate a positive result, which will increase selection efficiency and expedite the development of high yielding drought tolerant cereal varieties for dryland farming. The ultimate result will be an enhanced yield and the farm income of ND producers," explained Pradhan.

In North Dakota, about 99% of field crops are non- irrigated, and drought is the single most crucial abiotic factor affecting yield and quality of dryland crops. Therefore, it is imperative to develop technologies/strategies that decrease effects of drought on crop performance and yield.

Gautam Pradhan, WREC's Dryland Research Agronomist, will be speaking at 6:20 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11th about his research on UAVs in crop production and how they can be used for precision field management.

The development of tolerant varieties is one of the most efficient approaches to mitigate the impact of drought stress. Pradhan said, "Plant physiological traits such as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), normalized difference red edge (NDRE), and canopy temperature (CT) are directly related to crop growth and yield; a stress tolerant crop usually has higher NDVI/NDRE and low CT as compared to a susceptible crop. These traits, along with plant height and green area index, when frequently measured during the growing season, may help in the identification of high yielding drought tolerant genotypes from standing crops. These traits are time sensitive; for example, the CT of a plant in the morning will be entirely different than in the afternoon. However, the collection of these data manually from thousands of plots requires a tremendous amount of time and labor, and breeders are not using these traits in genotype selection. Thus, to identify drought tolerant genotypes rapidly and accurately from standing crops, there is a need of an application of PRECISION AGRICULTURE, i.e., an application of high throughput phenotyping system comprised of geographic information systems, remote sensing, and geographic positioning system, which enable the measurement of physiological/canopy data from thousands of plots quickly (within minutes), frequently (6-7 times during the growing season), and accurately (georeferenced)."

Pradhan explained, "In this project, we will be flying an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) with sensors to collect data on traits. The data will be correlated with growth and yield components and help breeders to develop high yielding drought tolerant genotype of spring wheat, barley, and durum."

The long-term goal of this project is to provide selection tools to cereal breeders that aid in the rapid development of drought-tolerant varieties. "The specific objective is to evaluate the usefulness of high-resolution geo-tagged data from multispectral, thermal, and RGB imageries sensors for quantifying: plant stand, plant health (NDVI/NDRE, Green Area Index, and CT), plant height, and heading date of barley, spring wheat, and durum wheat genotypes on breeders' nurseries," said Pradhan.


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