ItriCorp pioneered the application of real-time thermal image data to help the agricultural industry assess plant health and precisely locate real-time plant stresses from pests, disease, and water issues in a field. ItriCorp’s Hawk-EyeTM System, built around a thermal (LWIR, 8-14 micron) data imager collects image data, measure plant’s canopy temperatures, weather, and other pertinent data to report images and indices for the client, 24/7/365.
Field experimentation and experience demonstrated that canopy temperatures can be reliably used to track plant stress. Then from plant thermography studies dating back to Jackson et al. (1981) we found that it is possible to modify a Crop Water Stress Index to arrive at stress measurements on a daily basis. ItriCorp’s Stress Index (SI) measures plant stress (disease, pest, and/or water) by tracking the changes of the canopy temperature during the photosynthetic/transpiring part of the day and referencing it to the upper and lower limits of stress experienced by the subject plant. In a crop with low disease and pest pressure, stress is likely a plant water status issue.
During 2015 we are conducting several experiments to correlate and threshold the SI to plant water status and demand for irrigation. The immediate goal is to enable irrigation guidance via the SI. A longer term goal is to move the SI into a larger computing environment in order to exploit Landsat TM and Landsat ETM+ band 6, and Landsat 8 band 10 & 11, to provide agricultural crop monitoring and forecast tools new information.