specialist and RIT scientists with drone

Drones elevate Cornell Veg Program – RIT bean research


Large acreage vegetable fields lend themselves readily to remote sensing technologies. Cornell Vegetable Program processing vegetable specialist Julie Kikkert and Cornell University vegetable pathologist, Sarah Pethybridge are in a three-year partnership with scientists from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Center for Imaging Sciences.

Initial investigations, funded by a grant from the USDA NIFA CARE Program have focused on management of white mold disease in snap beans, one of the most difficult diseases to manage. The project focuses on risk modeling and detection of crop flowering.

When favorable environmental conditions exist, spores of the fungus infect bean flowers and the infection later spreads to the pods making them unmarketable. So far, the project has narrowed down the useful spectral wavelengths, which will make the technology more affordable to the industry. Additionally, the technology has been highly accurate at detecting flowering in snap beans, critical knowledge for the timing of fungicide sprays.

Photo by R.J. Anderson / CCE