Precision Agriculture – poppy crops

a PhD project by Faheem Iqbal supervised by Arko Luccieer & Karen Barry

Project description


Crop height distribution in poppy field

Poppy is one of the few medicinal plants that has been cultivated and used prehistoric times. Poppy is grown in different parts of the world but Tasmania is the largest licit producer of poppy and supplies up to 40% of the world’s opiates used for medicines. The importance of poppy opium is its alkaloid concentration, the amount of which varies from plant to plant and within fields. Opium production can be estimated using information on physiological indicators that predicts end opium yield. The spatial variability of these physiological indicators as plant height and capsule volume can best be estimated through UAV-based remote sensing technologies.
This project will use UAV-based multispectral and hyperspectral scanners for Tasmanian poppy crop management. Poppies are a high value crop grown legally in Tasmania with involvement and supervision of pharmaceutical companies. This study aims to acquire multi and hyperspectral imageries from a UAV over poppy crop fields and explore the ability of remote sensing to detect diseases, soil nutrient deficiency, and crop water stress from sowing to harvesting period at critical phases during the growing season.  Consultations with poppy farmers, pharmaceutical companies, agronomists, and other researchers at UTAS will be conducted throughout the research. For more info.

crop surface model

Research Candidate

Faheem completed his Bachelors degree in agricultural engineering in 2006 focusing on precision agriculture and completed MS degree in Remote Sensing and GIS in 2008. His research interest is teh use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Precision Agriculture. In 2014 Faheem started his PhD within the TerraLuma research group. The main focus of his PhD is the use of UAV based imagery to estimate poppy opium yield. This includes the development of methodology to study the variability of environmental factors affecting opium yield and devising mechanism for achieving maximum possible yield.  For more info.

Research supervisors

Dr Arko Lucieer is a primary supervisor of this project. He is the founder and team leader of the TerraLuma research group. His research is the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for environmental remote sensing and aerial surveying applications.
Dr Karen Barry is co-supervisor of this project. She is a senior lecturer of Plant Pathology at school of land and foog. her research interests are Plant pathology (host-pathogen interactions, antifungal defensive chemistry, disease epidemiology), plant physiology (growth responses to damage, spectral detection of stress), soil biology (mycorrhiza, remediation). Areas of interest include plantation forestry, native vegetation and horticultural crops. For more info.

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