LARS Tech Report Number
Detection and control of crop diseases are important phases of agricultural management. Currently the USDA spends several million dollars annually to detect crop diseases. Many more millions of dollars are spent by farmers trying to control diseases. Field observations and ground surveys are used to gather the information necessary-to keep track of ever-changing situations. Present methods give results which often differ from the real time situation. The capability to respond to major natural disasters such as the 1970 corn blight epiphytotic in a way which permits rapid adjustments in forecasts does not now exist. During 1970 an accurate description of the extent and severity of corn blight infection was not compiled until well after the end of the growing season.
Remote sensing is beginning to provide new tools and techniques with which agronomists and plant pathologists can rapidly observe and inventory crop conditions. Detection of crop diseases is but one of many possible applications of remote sensing technology. These techniques may provide useful and more timely information about our natural resources and also make available information which has previously been unavailable.
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