The ability to predict the future is a super power that most of people would love to have. If such ability had existed, disasters such as the World Wars or the Covid-19 pandemic would have been stopped. However, today prediction of the future is not as unbelievable as it used to be. Monitoring today’s situation closely can tell us about the future more than we can imagine.
Predicting the future in agriculture can be very beneficial too. This is why we have developed an innovative methodology for the detection of crop diseases in the latent phase and a complex system for disease forecasting and control.
A unique methodology for the detection of crop diseases in the latent period of the disease is based on the methods of hyperspectral image analysis. Based on this methodology, winter wheat, spring wheat and barley disease forecasting and control systems were developed for early identification of diseases, including crop monitoring, remote sensing and laboratory data analysis, disease risk mapping. The systems combine a range of spatial, agrochemical, physical and information technology solutions. Signs of future disease are determined from a plant image obtained by photographing the crop with a high-resolution hyperspectral camera. After performing the image spectrum analysis with the help of the information system and evaluating the peculiarities of the light spectrum reflected by the plants, plant changes, signaling the stress state of the plant and the signs of the onset of the disease, are identified.
The aspect of plant protection measures is one of the most important areas in the European agricultural sector. It is highlighted that plant protection must be based on integrated pest management, which emphasizes the need for pest monitoring using appropriate methods and tools, including scientifically based warning, prediction and early diagnosis systems. What is more, without timely identification of the disease and without the use of protective measures, up to 50% of harvest can be lost. Accurate identification and prognosis of the disease would allow farmers to preserve yield and use plant protection products only in emergencies and dose as necessary. This would bring economic benefits to the farmer in terms of savings in chemicals, fuel, working hours and ensure the principles of sustainable agriculture: optimal use of plant protection products and fuel, less depletion of the soil and less pollution of the environment.