The best defence: developing aphid-resistant wheat for smallholder farmers in southern Africa

Smallholder farmers growing wheat crops in southern Africa face losing up to half of their wheat yields to aphids. Pesticides that could prevent such attacks are often too expensive, but scientists are screening wheat lines to look for a new, cheaper way to protect African wheat from aphids. The scientists hope to identify resistance to two major aphid pests and breed the trait into wheat suitable for African climates.

Radar tracking reveals the ‘life stories’ of bumble bees

Scientists have tracked the flight paths of a group of bumble bees throughout their entire lives in what is thought to be the first lifetime tracking study of any animal in such detail. The new study used a radar to show how individual bees explore their environment and search for food. The findings showed that individual bumble bees differ greatly in the way they fly around the landscape when foraging for nectar and pollen.


Notes to Editors

Automated Technique to Determine Key Growing Stages of Wheat for High-Throughput Field Phenotyping Using Computer Vision

Determine key growing stages information of wheat canopies is one of the most important phenotypic characteristics of wheats growth and development. Since monitoring growing stages is still visually performed by human, it is laborious task, very time-consuming and subjective. Thus, a requirement of non-invasive method which is capable of observing growth stage information automatically and continuously is essential. In this paper, we present an automated computer vision technique that can identify the critical growing stages of wheat such as wheatear emergence and flowering time based on images visual content taken from the Field Scanalyser at Rothamsted Research. The introduced approach is robust to complex environmental changes and outdoor invariants. The high accuracy of the method allows agronomist to identify the critical growth stages of wheat automatically. Furthermore, although the proposed method is applied on wheat, it can be used on other plants such as rice, maize, etc.

Sensor Box

A major bottle neck in crop improvement and breeding is the ability to measure small differences in performance amongst very many varieties and pre-breeding lines.


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