IEEE Access (2019-01-01)

Combined Use of FCN and Harris Corner Detection for Counting Wheat Ears in Field Conditions

  • Daoyong Wang,
  • Yuanyuan Fu,
  • Guijun Yang,
  • Xiaodong Yang,
  • Dong Liang,
  • Chengquan Zhou,
  • Ning Zhang,
  • Hongya Wu,
  • Dongyan Zhang

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7
pp. 178930 – 178941


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Accurate counting of wheat ears in field conditions is vital to predict yield and for crop breeding. To quickly and accurately obtain the number of wheat ears in a field, we propose herein a method to count wheat ears based on fully convolutional network (FCN) and Harris corner detection. The technical procedure consists essentially of 1) constructing a dataset of wheat-ear images from acquired red-green-blue (RGB) images; 2) training a FCN as the wheat-ear segmentation model by using the constructed image dataset; 3) preparing testing images and inputting them into the segmentation model to get the initial segmentation results; 4) binarizing the initial segmentation by using the Otsu algorithm (to facilitate subsequent processing); and 5) applying Harris corner detection after extracting the wheat-ear skeleton to obtain the number of wheat ears in the images. The segmentation results show that the proposed FCN-based segmentation model segments wheat ears with an average accuracy of 0.984 and at low computational cost. An average of only 0.033 s is required to segment a 256× 256 -pixel wheat-ear image. Moreover, the segmentation result is improved by nearly 10% compared with the previous segmentation methods under conditions of wheat-ear occlusion, leaf occlusion, uneven illumination, and soil disturbance. Subsequently, the proposed counting method achieves good results, with an average accuracy of 0.974, a coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.983, and a root mean square error (RMSE) of 14.043. These metrics are all improved by 10% compared with the previous methods. These results show that the proposed method accurately counts wheat ears even under conditions of wheat-ear adhesion. Furthermore, the results provide an important technique for studying wheat phenotyping.