Saturday, August 29, 2015
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search


Lost & Found


Videofound in eagle creek with a collar no tags. very friendly non aggressive. call if he is yours 210-844-1951. clean and healthy

VideoStill missing long hair chihuahua. Near 3rd and 97 please if you see her she is very missed. Call jeri 409-781-3191
Lost: Small black and white tortoise shell cat, 1-1/2 years old, since Aug. 8, Country Hills area, La Vernia, very friendly, "Cinnamon" but responds more to "Kitty," rhinestone collar with bell, shots and spayed, family loves and misses her terribly. Reward! 210-725-8082.
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Manager for rental properties in Stockdale, must be assertive and have experience in the JP Court process, part-time/PRN. 830-299-0640, leave name/number.
The 81st Judicial District Attorney’s office, which includes Frio, La Salle, Atascosa, Karnes and Wilson Counties, is accepting resumes for an Assistant District Attorney position. Responsibilities of the position include felony intake, preparation of cases for grand jury, negotiating pleas and assisting law enforcement, assisting with Border Prosecution Cases and representation of the State of Texas in pretrial proceedings, as well as in criminal bench trials and jury trials in District Court. All applicants must be a graduate of an accredited law school and licensed to practice law by the State of Texas and have a minimum of five (5) years prosecutorial experience. Salary commensurate with experience. Resumes will be accepted through close of business, August 28, 2015. Please EMAIL resumes and cover letters to terireyes@81stda.org or fax to 830-393-2205. DISTRICT ATTORNEY RENE PENA C/O, TERI REYES, Office Manager; 1327 THIRD STREET, FLORESVILLE, TEXAS 78114. Fax 830-393-2205, terireyes@81stda.org.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos





Video Vault ›
You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.

Agriculture Today


Taking agriculture to higher level of precision


Taking agriculture to higher level of precision
ROBERT BURNS/Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service— This is one of the prototype sensors Dr. Alex Thomasson and colleagues are proposing to use for taking measurements of energy sorghum variety trial plants. Such a system has the potential to take automated measurements of thousands of plants individually, at a much higher level of accuracy than humans — and even work at night.


E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story
Robert Burns
May 7, 2014
4,297 views
Post a comment

COLLEGE STATION -- Imagine, if you will, a tractor pulling a fertilizer wagon traveling at 8 to 9 mph along a field of thousands of sorghum test plants.

As the tractor moves through the field plots, an onboard computer linked to sensors measures everything from plant height and development to nitrogen needs.

While you’re at it, imagine the tractor is driverless; its operation may be monitored remotely by a human, but the minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour decisions are being made by computer software, said Dr. Alex Thomasson, Texas A&M AgriLife Research agricultural engineer, College Station.

And though such a scenario might sound like science fiction, the reality is not that far away, Thomasson said.

Thomasson has been developing hardware and software for precision agriculture and remote sensing for much of his career.

Precision

agriculture

To date, precision agriculture has been largely about adjusting inputs to known variability within a field. For example, instead of applying fertilizer at the same rate across a 160-acre center pivot circle, precision agriculture systems use data on soil type and residual fertilizer variability to define different management zones within the 160 acres. Fertilizer is then applied to the management zones at optimal rates controlled by a GPS/computer-equipped tractor or through the irrigation system.

But Thomasson wants to take precision agriculture to another level. He wants to develop sensor/computer hardware and software that can determine individual plant status real time, as the tractor automatically transverses the field.

Phenotyping

Thomasson is currently working on a system that will be able to aid plant breeders in sorting through the thousands or even tens of thousands of plants for the development of new varieties.

A team comprised of Thomasson; Dr. Bill Rooney, AgriLife Research plant breeder; and John Mullet, AgriLife Research biochemist, is designing such a system for selecting energy sorghums -- cultivars used to produce bioenergy rather than food stocks.

Rooney and other breeders have been working on new varieties for years. Whether produced by conventional plant crosses or genetic manipulation, the first selections of any breeding program rely a great deal upon observable characteristics of individual plants -- what’s called “phenotyping.”

“A major limitation in the genetic improvement of energy crops is the collection of large, good quality phenotypic data,” Thomasson said. “Traditional plant phenotypic measurements rely on humans, and are slow, expensive, and subjective.”

The team’s goal is to develop a phenotyping system for energy sorghum with the emphasis on three important traits: yield, drought tolerance, and nitrogen use efficiency.

The team is currently considering development and testing of five types of sensors:

•Down-looking six-band, multi-spectral camera

•Down-looking thermal imaging camera

•Light curtain

•Side-looking camera

•Ultrasonic sensor.

The six-band, multi-spectral camera can be used to assess nitrogen content, growth status, and plant size. The thermal imaging camera can measure plant canopy temperature and water content. The light curtain can measure plant height, projected plant profile, and plant size. The side-looking camera can give a plant profile view. And the ultrasonic sensor can give yet another measurement of plant height.

Other indicators of plant performance can be derived from a combination of measurements from the group of sensors.

“For example, combining projected leaf area with plant height can be a good indication of plant size and thus the amount of biomass,” he said. “Combining the down-looking and side-looking images of the plant provides the opportunity for the 3-D reconstruction of the plants.”

Another advantage of the automated sensor approach is that readings on a very large number of plants could be collected weekly or even daily at a high level of accuracy, a process that would not ordinarily be economically feasible using human workers, Thomasson said.

An equally challenging aspect of the project is software development. First there will need to be a program running on a computer to control and coordinate the sensors. Second, there will need to be “robust image-processing algorithms” able to distinguish sorghum plants from the background. And finally, a specialized program will need to be developed to store sensor output in a relational database.

Most of the sensors Thomasson is proposing have been proven in one application or another, but not comprehensively for purposes of selection of breeding lines, and not on an autonomous platform, he said.

“There has been some sensor-based phenotyping research done in the past on plants, but a turnkey system doesn’t exist,” he said. “My goal is always to try to get the technology to a commercialization phase, and I think this has potential.

“At this point, however, we want to demonstrate that our platform can provide rapid and cost-effective ranking and screening of hundreds of candidate lines for the desired traits, and eventually lead to a more efficient energy sorghum breeding program,” Thomasson said.
 

Your Opinions and Comments


Be the first to comment on this story!


You must be logged in to post a comment.




Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

Agriculture Today Archives


Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Beef Cattle Management seminar (August 26, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Cotton root rot and its symptoms (August 26, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Feral hogs, water workshop (August 26, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Get acquainted with 4-H event (August 26, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Harvey places in top 20 (August 26, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hay & Forage Report (August 26, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Livestock Market Reports (August 26, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Mobile app for hunting regs (August 26, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Registration for cattle conference (August 26, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Survey deadline (August 26, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Turkey fed to improve Texas grasslands (August 26, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Wilson County 4-H Council, Booster meetings, Sept. 2 (August 26, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Anthrax confirmed in equine in Uvalde County (August 19, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Deer association: Environmental group deceives deer industry, wildlife community (August 19, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Don’t miss your shot! Apply for drawn hunts (August 19, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Feral hog management workshop is Sept. 4 (August 19, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hay & Forage Report (August 19, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Livestock Market Reports (August 19, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Prospects bright for dove season (August 19, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Saving tomatoes from the Texas heat (August 19, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Siblings make rodeo memories (August 19, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. TDA Market Report (August 19, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Chagas disease in South Central Texas (August 12, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Eastern equine encephalitis cases reported in Texas (August 12, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hay & Forage Report (August 12, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Leaf-dropping is common (August 12, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Livestock Market Reports (August 12, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. New, stronger El Niño may bring another wet winter (August 12, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Pieniazek elected president of ag education leadership (August 12, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. EPA ‘muddies’ Clean Water Act (August 5, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hay & Forage Report (August 5, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. It’s a ‘banner’ summer for Payton! (August 5, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Lantanas losing luster; mosquitoes a bother (August 5, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Livestock Market Reports (August 5, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Meuths receive Bronze Merit Award (August 5, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Shoot to benefit Don Newbury (August 5, 2015)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. TDA Market Report (August 5, 2015)
August 2015 Gardening Calendar (August 1, 2015)
Coupons ag-right
auto chooserDrama KidsAllstate & McBride RealtyTriple R DC ExpertsHeavenly Touch homeVoncille Bielefeld home

  Copyright © 2007-2015 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.