LARS Tech Report Number
A serious and unexpected epiphytotic of southern corn leaf blight reduced the nation's corn crop by 15 percent as a new race of this previously minor disease swept through the Southern and Corn Belt states during July and August, 1970. The disease appeared so suddenly and moved with such speed that accurate information on its extent and severity was not compiled until well after the end of the growing season.
Research by the Laboratory for Applications of Remote Sensing (LARS) in 1970 had shown that three stages of blight infection could be accurately classified from small scale color infrared photography and multispectral scanner data. It therefore appeared that remote sensing could provide valuable information on the incidence and severity of blight as it developed in 1971.
Many advancements in remote sensing technology have been made in recent years, but never before had all the components of an information system utilizing remote sensing measurements been assembled in one package. Thus the Corn Blight Watch Experiment was born out of a need to demonstrate and evaluate remote sensing in a real world situation.
USDA and NASA along with LARS, Willow Run Laboratories, and the Cooperative Extension Services (CES) and Agricultural Experiment Stations (AES) of seven Corn Belt states therefore joined forces to conduct an experiment which included all phases of an information system - remotely-sensed measurements, ground observations, a sampling model, data analysis, and an information dissemination network.
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