The team at Carnegie Mellon University has finished assembling two new crop imaging-systems and mounts to be used in the research vineyards. The imaging systems have been fully assembled, powder coated, plated and sealed to be fully weather resistant and durable. For use in vineyards, the imaging system is mounted on a farm vehicle, pointed at the canopy or fruiting zone, and used to collect high-resolution digital images throughout the vineyard. The CMU team processes the images with special software that identifies and measures specific canopy or crop characteristics. Most of their efforts so far have focused on identifying, measuring, and mapping berry number, berry size, and fruit color to give a non-destructive measurement of crop yield. New methods are being investigated into the possibility of using the image analysis to characterize the canopy, such as shoot counting and leaf area measurements. Two field-ready imaging units developed by the CMU engineering team (left) with one mounted to a farm vehicle for vineyard crop and canopy measurements (right).
A spatial berry count map of a commercial Merlot vineyard generated from image acquisition, processing, and spatial data mapping. The spatial pattern in berry count can be used in a calculation to determine overall vineyard yield.
By Terry Bates, Ph.D.