An automated sensing and control system (hardware and software) was developed for real-time spot-application of granular fertilizer in mowed wild blueberry fields. The custom hardware system was incorporated into a commercial pneumatic granular fertilizer spreader. Custom software for the sensing and control system was developed by combining color co-occurrence matrix based texture analysis and g-ratio algorithms in C++ to acquire and process images in real-time to differentiate mowed wild blueberry plants from bare spots and weeds. The performance accuracy of the spot-applicable fertilizer spreader was evaluated both in laboratory simulation and real-time field tests. Simulation results reported that the accuracy of the developed system was 94.9 %. Real-time field tests reported that the system produced acceptable results at ground speeds of 1.6 and 3.2 km h−1 for the spot-application of fertilizer at target areas (in plant areas only) within the field. Results also indicated that the ground speed of 4.8 km h−1 was unacceptable, which could be due to blurred images at high speed and surface unevenness of the wild blueberry field. Spot-application of fertilizer using the modified fertilizer spreader could save fertilizer for the wild blueberry producers.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: May 25, 2016
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