Steve Fennimore, UC Davis Plant Sciences faculty member and UC Cooperative Extension weed specialist, and colleagues received the 2020 EurAgEng Outstanding Paper Award for the paper, “Crop Signalling: A Novel Crop Recognition Technique for Robotic Control,” which was published in Biosystems Engineering.
The research represents a breakthrough in differentiating weeds from crops using machine vision systems. The technology could help California growers address challenges in managing weeds in in dozens of crops with limited herbicide options, and significant hand-weeding costs due to a growing labor shortage.
“California growers would benefit from improved weeding technology,” said Fennimore. “This technology certainly has commercialization potential by improving the accuracy, speed and reliability of weed/crop differentiation by weeding machines.”
Field experiments were successfully conducted for real-time weed control in tomato and lettuce. The paper was a collaborative effort led by first author Rekha Raja, a postdoctoral scholar in the UC Davis Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and included researchers from the UC Davis Departments of Plant Sciences and Plant Biology; UC Cooperative Extensions in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties; and the Department of Biosystems Engineering at the University of Arizona.
Awarded by the European Society of Agricultural Engineers, the EurAgEng Outstanding Paper Award is only awarded once every two years and is selected out of all the papers published in Biosystems Engineering. – By Kristin Burns, UCANR