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Crop protection via smart phone: ZALF and PEAT start new Citizen Science project

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LSA
Plantix Pflanzenschutz-App

 

A new research project has begun at the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) e.V. which relies on the cooperation of citizens: scientists are using a Smartphone application of the technology start-up PEAT. With the aid of the app, “Plantix“, it is possible to discover crop diseases quicker and to fight them more efficiently. The “software“ identifies crop diseases and pests based on photos and provides tips on how to treat or control them. The database currently includes 175 frequently occurring crop diseases and pests as well as 40,000 photos. The identification algorithm of the app improves with every image which records a success rate of over 90 per cent as of approx. 500 photos per crop disease. The Institute for Landscape System Analysis of ZALF is working together with software developers to make the app usable for farmers in Brazil. In Brazil, crop diseases are responsible for 10-30 per cent of crop failures. This not only endangers the existence of many local farms, but is also a risk for food security. Brazil is one of the world’s largest agricultural producers and mainly exports maize and soya. The app ensures that yield losses can be prevented and the use of fertilizers and crop protection products optimized

However, the software is not only of practical use to farmers. The data collected help scientists at ZALF to establish where and to what extent crop disease and pests occur, and what connections there are to geo-factors such as soil quality or climatic conditions. Based on this, researchers prepare agricultural models for the tests regions of Brazil which help to prevent yield losses and with which the use of fertilizers and crop protection products can be optimized.

In addition, this form of science, also known as ‘Citizen Science‘, supports and promotes exchange between scientists and citizens. Such projects ensure that the population participates actively in scientific research by means of cooperation and providing local data and information. In addition to the mosquito atlas, the crop app is the second Citizen Science project being worked on at ZALF.


Further information reagarding the smart phone application: www.plantix.net.

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