Sugar beet research uses trials to determine when a variety, seed treatment, or chemical application is significant enough to be worth merit. Data is collected in the spring with stand establishment and also when harvest occurs in the fall. Trial data gathered is used to determine whether or not there are benefits of using a seed treatment during the growing season. Our R&D team recently incorporated the Cyclops imagery program into our data collection process for sugar beet field trials. An additional step of data collection and analysis, the Cyclops program helps to determine if a treatment is showing positive results early in the growing season.
The Cyclops program consists of a series of photos taken of a designated plot within a trial. Each set of images is then analyzed to determine plant population, average leaf area, and total leaf area. This data can be used in addition to stand counts and harvest data to determine the advantage one treatment has over another.
Analyzing Data to Determine the Benefits of Seed Treatments
Analyzing the data is a huge job. The pictures of the plots are taken and merged so the whole plot can be analyzed. A proprietary computer program measures how many plants are in the plot and the amount of leaf area covered within the plot. After the plots are analyzed the information is sorted and put into tables and charts to determine the results. The image data gives insight into how emergence effects leaf area and if yield results from the differences in early plant vigor.
Because the Cyclops system is measuring leaf area, to ensure data accuracy it is important that the designated test plots are free of weeds and that images are taken early before the plant leaves begin to overlap. The Cyclops program helps fill the gap in data collection between planting and harvest. Plant populations and leaf areas may be used to determine if a treatment will show a benefit over another treatment. The Cyclops program will continue to advance as technology allows further data collection and analysis.