Smartphone app comes to aid of farmers

| May 28, 2013

The French National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA) has developed several plant protection applications for smartphones and tablets to help farmers identify and localize diseases on plants in the field.

In order to reduce the use of pesticides on crops, the early and reliable identification of a disease and the detection of emergent pests have proven to be crucial stages in plant protection. In particular, such information enables an alignment of the diagnosis with the most appropriate protection methods.

An INRA team based in Bordeaux and led by Dominique Blancard and Jean-Marc Armand, has developed several applications, but Di@gnoPlant® Tobacco is the first by INRA to be translated into English for international use. The translation was done by CORESTA (Cooperation Centre for Scientific Research Relative to Tobacco).

The Di@gnoPlant® Tobacco application answers two key questions in respect of tobacco plant protection. Firstly, what disease causes the symptoms? And secondly, what control methods can be used?

At the onset of disease symptoms on a crop, a farmer or field technician using Di@gnoPlant is able to identify diseases on a crop using an image identification module.

It is then possible to obtain information on the characteristics of these diseases, based on an INRA database organised into fact sheets that detail the symptoms and biology of the incriminated pest.

And finally, the farmer or field technician can implement optimised protection methods.

‘When developing this project, the scientists had two aims: to build a continuum of diagnostic/advice tools already accessible over the internet thanks to the e-Phytia® website (English version pertaining to tobacco will soon be on line) and make it available in the field using the new information and communication opportunities provided by smartphones and tablets (App store and Google play),’ CORESTA said in a press note.

‘A complementary application, Vigipl@nt, will be developed in the future for “geolocalisation”.’

CORESTA said that it and INRA would continue to collaborate. ‘Thanks to its worldwide networks and links with numerous organisations and universities, CORESTA will regularly supplement and improve the database on tobacco and hopes this application can assist tobacco farmers all over the world,’ it said.

Category: Breaking News

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