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Phenotyping Activities at the Department of Crop Sciences “BOKU phenomics” Update July 2021 by our researchers' team - some news about Phenomics


Crop phenotyping at BOKU university

As part of the infrastructure project BOKU Phenomics, BOKU promotes the digital phenotyping of agricultural experiments.

In 2021, flights with a drone with a high-resolution digital and multispectral camera via field trials in Tulln and Groß Enzersdorf were already carried out in the second season.

In technical pilot projects it could be shown, that drone data are suitable for scoring canopies in experimental plots (e.g. infestation with fungal diseases or soil cover). The previous visual scorings can be supplemented or replaced, thereby increasing throughput and precision. Digitization generates new types of data for the statistical evaluation of field trials. Valuable time for research is freed up in the operation of field trials.

At the University and Research Center Tulln, a sheltered facility was set up to precisely record the transpiration of grapevines. The facility consists on a set of 36 balances (up to 50kg with a precision of 10g), which measure plant water use in real-time, and is equipped with an automated watering system to maintain specific water deficit levels in each individual plant. Currently the system is used to carry out drought stress experiments with deficit irrigation in wine grapes. The agricultural scientists at BOKU can use it to research important future topics, such as the effects and adaptation of agriculture to climate change.

We arranged a picture mosaic (c_Carlos Herera, BOKU) to get an impression of how this facility looks like. Picture mosaic

Technical and scientific teams are put together at BOKU to further develop phenotyping.

2019 and 2020

Field phenotyping is a declared research priority across the Institutes of the Department of Crop Sciences.

Seeing the gap of knowledge in crop phenotyping, the BOKU university decided in 2019 to invest into field phenotyping technologies. The launched project “BOKU phenomics” is an important first step to establish a high-throughput and flexible infrastructure for field phenotyping, to be used by the different disciplines present at the Department of Crop Sciences.

During the cropping season 2020 drone flights were conducted for high-resolution RGB and multi-spectral imaging. A number of crop traits (soil cover fraction, phenology, spectral indices) were derived from the image data. Handheld devices were used for hyperspectral measurements on canopy and leaf level. Multi- and hyperspectral camera systems were purchased for high spatial resolution and high spectral resolution imaging under controlled environment conditions.

BOKU aims to connect, develop, validate and transfer knowledge between disciplines and experimental setups (small controlled to high-throughput), based on the concept “Phenotyping across experimental scales” provided by the Department of Crop Sciences.

This was the "International Mendel Day 2021"

On 8th March 2021 the "International Mendel Day 2021" took place, online, hosted in Brno.

For all who are interested in, please find on the association's website Prof. Johann Sölkner's presentation "Decoding the functions of Mendelian variants in domestic animals".

Please click on the following link to visit the homepage:

The organisers where pleased to welcome more than 80 participants, most of them from Europe, but even USA and Sydney, Australia (4 am local time).