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High-Throughput Field Phenotyping to Advance Precision Agriculture and Enhance Genetic Gain

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In the past decade, high-throughput field phenotyping (HTFP) technologies have substantially increased our capability to monitor and quantify field experiments and breeding nurseries at multiple scales. The benefits of these HTFP technologies is to not only replace tedious and subjective ratings in a rapid ...

In the past decade, high-throughput field phenotyping (HTFP) technologies have substantially increased our capability to monitor and quantify field experiments and breeding nurseries at multiple scales. The benefits of these HTFP technologies is to not only replace tedious and subjective ratings in a rapid and cost-effective manner, but to also unlock the potential of new, latent phenotypes representing underlying biological function. These technological advances have also provided the novel ability to follow crop growth and development across season at both high spatial and temporal resolution not previously accessible. By combining these data in parallel with environmental information, we are capable of evaluating genotypic-specific reaction norms and phenotypic plasticity thereby improving our understanding of the interaction between genotype, environment and management practices.

Current limitations of HTFP that must be addessed by the whole community are the detection of increased water and nitrogen use efficiency, drought and heat tolerance, quality of marketable yield, and leaf photosynthesis.

We believe that HTFP will continue to gain momentum as closer collaborations among agronomists, plant scientists, breeders, engineers, crop modelers and the remote sensing community is achieved; and furthermore, by combining HTFP with other advanced breeding technologies such as genomic selection. Great advancements in genetic gain and crop productivity can be achieved to address socioeconomic needs in a sustainable manner.

We aim to bring together different disciplines focused on the contrasting ends of the HTFP pipeline. The contributions should cover the different aspects of the phenotyping pipeline: i) sensors, carrier systems and automation; ii) experimental design, campaign planning, plot extraction; iii) data management, trait ontologies and common data standards; iv) modern image analysis, feature detection, photogrammetry and data fusion; v) spatiotemporal modelling vi) trait calibration using multidimensional data from envirotyping and multi-environment trials.

Contributions should go beyond the current state-of-the-art or critically re-evaluate existing findings. The readiness as well as the potential adoption of HTFP in practice is of paramount interest and should be demonstrated. We welcome innovative contributions of Original Research, Review and Perspective articles and novel methods in field-based high-throughput plant phenomics.


Keywords: Field-Based Phenomics, Precision Phenotyping, Water and Nutrient Use Efficiency, Drought and Heat Tolerance


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