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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1112: XXIX International Horticultural Congress on Horticulture: Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes (IHC2014): International Symposia on Water, Eco-Efficiency and Transformation of Organic Waste in Horticultural Production

Plant water stress detection based on aerial and terrestrial infrared thermography: a study case from vineyard and olive orchard

Authors:   C. Poblete-Echeverría, D. Sepulveda-Reyes, S. Ortega-Farias, M. Zuñiga, S. Fuentes
Keywords:   unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), lateral infrared thermal images, nadir-view infrared thermal images
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1112.20
Irrigation scheduling is critical for vineyards and olive orchards, since it directly affects yield and fruit composition. Regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) strategies have been applied on both crops with positive results in the past. However, to successfully regulate stress levels, it is necessary to have accurate measurements of plant water status, which is usually achieved using a pressure chamber. In this regard, canopy temperature (Tc) has been shown to be an accurate indicator of plant water stress. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of water stress detection based on aerial and terrestrial infrared thermography for a vineyard and an olive orchard. Lateral infrared thermal images were obtained using a handheld infrared camera and nadir-view infrared thermal images were obtained using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). In addition, measurements of midday stem water potential (Ψstem) from olives trees (Olea europaea L. 'Arbequina') and grapevines (Vitis vinifera L. 'Carménère') were taken under different RDI strategies during the 2013-2014 growing season. The image analysis was performed using a customized code written in Mathlab® defining thresholds to exclude non-plant elements. Results showed that the use of infrared thermal images aided in recognizing the differences in the water availability for irrigation treatments when the plants were under stress conditions.

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