Detecting Volunteer Cotton Plants in a Corn Field with Deep Learning on UAV Remote-Sensing Imagery

by   Pappu Kumar Yadav, et al.

The cotton boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis Boheman is a serious pest to the U.S. cotton industry that has cost more than 16 billion USD in damages since it entered the United States from Mexico in the late 1800s. This pest has been nearly eradicated; however, southern part of Texas still faces this issue and is always prone to the pest reinfestation each year due to its sub-tropical climate where cotton plants can grow year-round. Volunteer cotton (VC) plants growing in the fields of inter-seasonal crops, like corn, can serve as hosts to these pests once they reach pin-head square stage (5-6 leaf stage) and therefore need to be detected, located, and destroyed or sprayed . In this paper, we present a study to detect VC plants in a corn field using YOLOv3 on three band aerial images collected by unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The two-fold objectives of this paper were : (i) to determine whether YOLOv3 can be used for VC detection in a corn field using RGB (red, green, and blue) aerial images collected by UAS and (ii) to investigate the behavior of YOLOv3 on images at three different scales (320 x 320, S1; 416 x 416, S2; and 512 x 512, S3 pixels) based on average precision (AP), mean average precision (mAP) and F1-score at 95 among the three scales, while a significant difference was found for AP between S1 and S3 (p = 0.04) and S2 and S3 (p = 0.02). A significant difference was also found for F1-score between S2 and S3 (p = 0.02). The lack of significant differences of mAP at all the three scales indicated that the trained YOLOv3 model can be used on a computer vision-based remotely piloted aerial application system (RPAAS) for VC detection and spray application in near real-time.


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