Mobile Wheat Analyzer

A software based program for counting wheat tillers in a given area and predicting crop yield.

The Need

Farmers base the decision of whether or not they should keep their wheat product in the Spring off the number of wheat tillers in a given area. Currently, manual counting is the best way to determine how many wheat tillers exist. Manual counting of wheat tillers is a very tedious task, especially when the weather is unfavorable, and methods used to count wheat tillers can be highly variable among farmers. A technique for counting the tillers that is more accurate and computer based would greatly improve the accuracy of the counting as well as greatly reduce the time farmers are forced to spend counting.

The Market

Wheat is the third largest agricultural commodity in the world with regard to production and consumption. The US controls over 69% of North America’s wheat production and holds the highest position in terms of area harvested and production. It is projected that in the Fall of 2015, 550,000 acres of wheat will be planted in Ohio and over 55 million acres of wheat will be planted in the United States overall. Consumption of wheat products, such as flour, are projected to increase at an annualized rate of 0.4% over the next five years (through 2019).

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. Laura Lindsey, developed a computer algorithm that uses digital photographic images to count the number of wheat tillers in a given area. This technology utilizes an image analysis approach that extracts one of the color channels in the image and then segments the wheat content within a selected area in that color channel. This invention will aid the industry and farmers in making sound agronomic decisions regarding the economic viability of a wheat field without the tedious manual counting of tillers that is currently required. This method is also more accurate than manual counting and would provide consistency across farmers who now use a variety of counting methods.

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