Sensing technologies for precision specialty crop production
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture
With the advances in electronic and information technologies, various sensing systems have been developed for specialty crop production around the world. Accurate information concerning the spatial variability within fields is very important for precision farming of specialty crops. However, this variability is affected by a variety of factors, including crop yield, soil properties and nutrients, crop nutrients, crop canopy volume and biomass, water content, and pest conditions (disease, weeds,
... and insects). These factors can be measured using diverse types of sensors and instruments such as field-based electronic sensors, spectroradiometers, machine vision, airborne multispectral and hyperspectral remote sensing, satellite imagery, thermal imaging, RFID, and machine olfaction system, among others. Sensing techniques for crop biomass detection, weed detection, soil properties and nutrients are most advanced and can provide the data required for site specific management. On the other hand, sensing techniques for diseases detection and characterization, as well as crop water status, are based on more complex interaction between plant and sensor, making them more difficult to implement in the field scale and more complex to interpret. This paper presents a review of these sensing technologies and discusses how they are used for precision agriculture and crop management, especially for specialty crops. Some of the challenges and considerations on the use of these sensors and technologies for specialty crop production are also discussed.