Yang's published results show that aerial imagery could detect the presence, location, and disease progression of cotton root rot. The team showed that cameras could be used to detect weeds and invasive plants and identify areas affected by drought stress.
Yang, working with Texas A&M AgriLife scientists, began evaluating whether aerial imagery could spot specific problem sites in cotton fields when, a few years ago, growers started using a new fungicide for cotton root rot control.
If the cotton root rot is the problem, it is a pretty intractable one.
On top of that, a soilborne fungus called cotton root rot, with the scary scientific name of Phymatotrichopsis omnivora, has added Franklinia to its hit list of some 2,000 species of plants.
A convient soil culture method for obtaining sclerotia of the cotton root rot
But Yang, who is with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in College Station, Texas, began evaluating whether aerial imagery could spot problem areas within cotton fields when growers started using a new fungicide to control cotton root rot. Root rot infections are usually limited to just 20% to 30% of a field.
Working with Texas A&M AgriLife scientists, Yang mounted two digital cameras on the underside of a small airplane, equipped them with GPS, and took images of cotton fields to see whether they could identify areas with cotton root rot. One camera took standard color images, and the other camera was filtered to capture images in near infrared.
David Appel, professor of plant pathology and Texas A&M AgriLife extension specialist, told Wines & Vines that cotton root rot
has replaced Pierce's disease as the major disease of concern in the Texas Hill Country and Gulf Coast viticultural regions.
Differentiation of isolates of cotton root rot
pathogens Rizoctonia solani and R.
Integrated control of cotton root rot
disease by mixing fungal biocontrol agents and resistance inducers.
Cotton root rot
is most severe in Texas, where it costs growers an estimated $29 million a year.
Yang also documented cotton root rot
distributions in south and central Texas and developed guidelines for site-specific management of this destructive disease using aerial and satellite imagery and variable-rate technology to significantly reduce fungicide use.