Image-based high-throughput phenotyping of cereals early vigor and weed-competitiveness traits

Shlomi Aharon, Zvi Peleg, Eli Argaman, Roi Ben-David, Ran N. Lati*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Cereals grains are the prime component of the human diet worldwide. To promote food security and sustainability, new approaches to non-chemical weed control are needed. Early vigor cultivars with enhanced weed-competitiveness ability are a potential tool, nonetheless, the introduction of such trait in breeding may be a long and labor-intensive process. Here, two image-driven plant phenotyping methods were evaluated to facilitate effective and accurate selection for early vigor in cereals. For that purpose, two triticale genotypes differentiating in vigor and growth rate early in the season were selected as model plants: X-1010 (high) and Triticale1 (low). Two modeling approaches, 2-D and 3-D, were applied on the plants offering an evaluation of various morphological growth parameters for the triticale canopy development, under controlled and field conditions. The morphological advantage of X-1010 was observed only at the initial growth stages, which was reflected by significantly higher growth parameter values compared to the Triticale1 genotype. Both modeling approaches were sensitive enough to detect phenotypic differences in growth as early as 21 days after sowing. All growth parameters indicated a faster early growth of X-1010. However, the 2-D related parameter [projected shoot area (PSA)] is the most available one that can be extracted via end user-friendly imaging equipment. PSA provided adequate indication for the triticale early growth under weed-competition conditions and for the improved weed-competition ability. The adequate phenotyping ability for early growth and competition was robust under controlled and field conditions. PSA can be extracted from close and remote sensing platforms, thus, facilitate high throughput screening. Overall, the results of this study may improve cereal breeding for early vigor and weed-competitiveness.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number3877
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Crop height
  • Crop volume
  • Drone
  • Food security
  • MVS
  • Projected shoot area
  • SFM
  • Three-dimensional model


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