We use a variety of field equipment to support our research. The tools that we use support the different phases of the growing season: Planting, growing, note taking/data collection and harvesting. Our shop provides us with both equipment customization and prototyping capabilities.
We have a number of small tractors that are used during planting of our field crops. We utilize a GPS system with RTK correction paired with an Autopilot system to allow us to plant our fields to 2 cm accuracy and ensures that our plots remain uniform to allow for more efficient data collection during the growing season.
Automated seed dispersal systems on 3-point tractor hitchs allow us to accurately sow seed for our research plots.
Collection of phenotype data is an important research activity during the growing season. We have three phenotyping platforms. We also verify and cross reference with tried and true hand collection methods along with regular note taking.
- PheMU - A tractor mounted phenotype data collection system.
- Phenocorn/Phenocart - A handheld phenotyping system.
- UAV - An unmanned aerial vehicle mounted phenotyping system.
The tractor-mounted Phemu carriers a variety of sensors mounted on a special mounting platform that was custom-built in our shop. It allows us to collect massive amounts of data in a relatively short timespan.
Phenocorn/Phenocart are used for applications where access to the field by tractor is not possible.
Our UAV drone is capable of carrying cameras with a variety of imaging capabilities for large-scale collection of phenotypic data in an extremely short timeframe.
Here are two of our plot research combines in action during harvest time. With new onboard system such as GrainGage we are able to take notes on moisture content, 1000 kernel weight, and yield data as we bag individual plots to be sorted and catalogued for future experiments.
Our shop is used both to customize commercial equipment and to construct new equipment such as PheMU and Phenocart.