Areas of competence

Photo: Manuel Gutjahr

Precise Crop Monitoring

Today, modern technologies enables us to eye on plant cultivation with a new look. Sensors provide us with detailed information coming from the perspective of vehicle, drone and satellite platforms, from the individual plant to the entire crop field. The increasing digitalization in agriculture gives us the opportunity to evaluate a large number of sensor data almost automatically and in real time. This helps us to transform the data into usable knowledge­—knowledge that might support the agricultural change towards a more sustainable, resource-saving and climate-compatible management.

In this context, the working group "Precise Crop Monitoring" researches new monitoring concepts that will improve on the assessment of plant diseases and pests, plant stress situations and typical cultivation plant parameters in terms of both space and time for agriculture in the future. Mainly, on the basis of optical sensor technologies in the visible and non-visible range of the spectrum, we are developing and testing methods. They, for example, provide us with timely information on the local occurrence of the plant disease yellow rust in wheat crop stands. One of our goals is to achieve sensor-based optimization of the use of crop protection products for precision crop protection. In this way, we meet the future demands of agriculture meaning to use chemicals as low as possible. To this end, we are developing systems that enable us to get very close to the crop or even immerse in the crop stand itself to achieve the most ideal detection possible. We are also interested in combining imaging sensor technology with artificial intelligence. Using methods from data science such as deep learning, we are trying to identify features in a large amount of unstructured image data to better extract information about the first appearance of disease symptoms. This combination allows us to integrate intelligent sensor technology into our research concepts to improve monitoring for crop cultivation and crop protection.


Dr. rer. nat. Schirrmann, Michael

Scientist, Group leader "Precise Crop Monitoring"

Department: Engineering for Crop Production


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