Standardizing and Centralizing Datasets to Enable Efficient Training of Agricultural Deep Learning Models

by   Amogh Joshi, et al.

In recent years, deep learning models have become the standard for agricultural computer vision. Such models are typically fine-tuned to agricultural tasks using model weights that were originally fit to more general, non-agricultural datasets. This lack of agriculture-specific fine-tuning potentially increases training time and resource use, and decreases model performance, leading an overall decrease in data efficiency. To overcome this limitation, we collect a wide range of existing public datasets for three distinct tasks, standardize them, and construct standard training and evaluation pipelines, providing us with a set of benchmarks and pretrained models. We then conduct a number of experiments using methods which are commonly used in deep learning tasks, but unexplored in their domain-specific applications for agriculture. Our experiments guide us in developing a number of approaches to improve data efficiency when training agricultural deep learning models, without large-scale modifications to existing pipelines. Our results demonstrate that even slight training modifications, such as using agricultural pretrained model weights, or adopting specific spatial augmentations into data processing pipelines, can significantly boost model performance and result in shorter convergence time, saving training resources. Furthermore, we find that even models trained on low-quality annotations can produce comparable levels of performance to their high-quality equivalents, suggesting that datasets with poor annotations can still be used for training, expanding the pool of currently available datasets. Our methods are broadly applicable throughout agricultural deep learning, and present high potential for significant data efficiency improvements.


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