In recent years, Purdue University’s Katy Rainey and Keith Cherkauer have worked to predict soybean biomass from drone imagery in Indiana.
“We’re now expanding that capability to all the public soybean breeding programs in the region,” said Rainey, professor of agronomy, who also directs the Purdue Soybean Center. Soon, she and Cherkauer will begin receiving drone imagery collected on a panel of 1,200 soybean varieties that breeders have planted in 11 states across the U.S. north-central region.
“Here at Purdue, we’ll do all the processing and modification of the images to predict biomass,” she said.
The effort is part of the SOYGEN3 (Science Optimized Yield Gains across ENvironments) project. Consisting of eight universities, including Purdue, SOYGEN3 has more than $900,000 in funding from the North Central Soybean Research Program.
“The overarching goal in this experiment is to develop methods and models for selecting soybeans that will be high yielding in future extreme environments under climate-change scenarios,” Rainey said. “We know that the future environments we’re going to grow soybean in are different from the ones we have now because climate is changing.