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High-Tech Pecans—Scanning Orchards

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A group of guys from Agerpoint have been at the UGA Ponder Research Farm this week scanning some of our pecan orchards with their equipment, which combines 3D laser scanning and survey GPS with multiple HD video cameras to capture various data on the trees in the orchards.

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A vehicle-mounted scanner array was driven between the tree rows at low speed, measuring features such as tree trunk diameter, the height of trees, the volume of trees, and the leaf density of the canopy. This information is to be compiled and combined with photographic data, capturing details such as leaf color and hopefully with later scans, the number of nuts on the tree as the nuts get larger later in the season. We hope we can use this technology to help provide better crop estimates in the future.

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They also measured the visible and shortwave infrared regions (350-2500 nm) of light reflecting off the leaf surface of trees with a spectrometer. This will be used to try to detect stress on trees in our irrigation and fertilizer studies, as well as any differences between cultivars.

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Tons of data can be collected with this technology and there are potentially countless applications for this technology. I’ll provide updates from time to time to let you keep up with how these studies are progressing.

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About Lenny Wells

I am a Professor of Horticulture and Extension Horticulture Specialist for pecans at the University of Georgia. My research and extension programs focus on practical cultural management strategies that help to enhance the economic and environmental sustainability of pecan production in Georgia.