Thanos Gentimis, an assistant professor in the LSU AgCenter Department of Experimental Statistics, recently “taught” a computer program to analyze this aerial photograph of a rice field and automatically distinguish the different plots. Now he is using data to formulate an algorithm directing the computer to rate the plots for vigor, a measure of plant growth. (Photo provided by Thanos Gentimis)
Every summer, scientists at agriculture research stations spend hours with clipboards in hand walking down row after row of plants, going about a tedious chore known as rating plots.
Often, the process involves assigning a numeric value to each small-scale plot where the scientist is growing crops for research. Those ratings are subjective, but they offer insight into how well a variety performs, whether an insecticide treatment is effective or if an extra application of fertilizer resulted in a better yield.