|Timeline:||October 2016 - 30 September 2020|
Crop lodging is a permanent displacement of the crop stem from its upright position and results in shoots permanently leaning or lying horizontally on the ground. Among the several agricultural hazards that affect crop’s yield and food security, causing yield reduction ranging from 31% to 80%. Besides yield reduction, lodging causes several knock-on effects such as deterioration in grain quality, destruction in plant morphology, reduction in photosynthetic ability, slowed harvest, and increased drying costs. Agricultural production varies with the season and the climate, and deficiency in timely dissemination of the information to farmers and policy makers can incur high costs in the near future. Therefore, a rapid and quantitative evaluation of crop lodging and its risk is indispensable for yield assessment and for accurately targeting the expenditure on lodging control, respectively.
Lodging, in particular, is commonly evaluated by visual assessment or rating of the lodging state and is scored on a 1-9 scale or is categorized into different lodging stages based on the measurements of crop angle of inclination. However, such visual assessments may be biased and subjective; they depend upon the skill of the observer or the complexity of the observation. Nevertheless, the reason why visual rating is usually adopted is that there is no other rapid method available yet for the quantitative evaluation of crop lodging at a large spatial scale. This work will address the problem of lodging by exploring three major components: detecting lodging, defining lodging stages and mapping the lodging risk, using a multi-sensor approach. With the launch of new satellites such as the Sentinel series, remote sensing has been able to provide periodic and timely information over large and remote areas.
Such a lodging monitoring system is not only needed for the impact assessment but also to disseminate timely information to policy makers and stakeholders about the state of the crop fields and the pathway that the current situation would lead to. As pointed out by the FAO (2011), the need for timeliness is a major factor underlying agricultural statistics and associated monitoring systems—information is worth little if it becomes available too late.
Fig. 1 Location of the study site (white outline) in Jolanda di Savoia, Provine of Ferrara, Italy.
Fig. 2 Severe lodging in wheat recorded in the Bonifiche Ferraresi farm, Italy in May 2018