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Automatic estimation of heading date of paddy rice using deep learning

Desai, Sai Vikas, Balasubramanian, Vineeth N., Fukatsu, Tokihiro, Ninomiya, Seishi, Guo, Wei
Plant methods 2019 v.15 no.1 pp. 76
algorithms, crops, cultivars, data collection, grain yield, heading, neural networks, panicles, rice, time series analysis
BACKGROUND: Accurate estimation of heading date of paddy rice greatly helps the breeders to understand the adaptability of different crop varieties in a given location. The heading date also plays a vital role in determining grain yield for research experiments. Visual examination of the crop is laborious and time consuming. Therefore, quick and precise estimation of heading date of paddy rice is highly essential. RESULTS: In this work, we propose a simple pipeline to detect regions containing flowering panicles from ground level RGB images of paddy rice. Given a fixed region size for an image, the number of regions containing flowering panicles is directly proportional to the number of flowering panicles present. Consequently, we use the flowering panicle region counts to estimate the heading date of the crop. The method is based on image classification using Convolutional Neural Networks. We evaluated the performance of our algorithm on five time series image sequences of three different varieties of rice crops. When compared to the previous work on this dataset, the accuracy and general versatility of the method has been improved and heading date has been estimated with a mean absolute error of less than 1 day. CONCLUSION: An efficient heading date estimation method has been described for rice crops using time series RGB images of crop under natural field conditions. This study demonstrated that our method can reliably be used as a replacement of manual observation to detect the heading date of rice crops.