Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Physiological and Genetic Basis of Cotton Acclimation to Abiotic Stress

Location: Plant Physiology and Genetics Research

Title: A flexible, low-cost cart for proximal sensing

Authors
item White, Jeffrey
item Conley, Matthew

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 3, 2013
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Citation: White, J.W., Conley, M.M. 2013. A flexible, low-cost cart for proximal sensing. Crop Science. 53(4):1646-1649.

Interpretive Summary: Agricultural researchers increasingly use diverse types of electronic sensors to monitor how crops grow and respond to problems such as drought and low soil fertility. In order to take measurements on large numbers of plots in an experiment, there is a need to for simple, high-clearance vehicles that can be easily maneuvered through crops while minimizing possible damage from wheels passing through the crop. We describe a simple cart built from an 80 inch-wide by 40 inch-long steel frame that was welded onto two bicycle frames at a height providing 40 inches of vertical clearance. Instruments to measure traits such as the foliage temperature and greenness are attached to the frame via arms that are secured with U-bolts. A large, horizontal surface allows mounting data loggers, batteries, or computers. The cart is easily maneuvered by one person on level ground or by two persons on terrain with furrows, berms, or other obstacles. Design sketches and lists of materials are provided in an electronic supplement. The basic design is readily modifiable for different inter-row spacings and sensor positions. The design of this simple, low-cost cart is expected to facilitate numerous innovations in field research. Ultimately, this should lead to improved varieties and crop management practices that increase yields while conserving resources.

Technical Abstract: Agricultural researchers increasingly use diverse types of electronic sensors to monitor how crops grow and respond to problems such as drought and low soil fertility. In order to take measurements on large numbers of plots in an experiment, there is a need to for simple, high-clearance vehicles that can be easily maneuvered through crops while minimizing possible damage from wheels passing through the crop. We describe a simple cart built from an 80 inch-wide by 40 inch-long steel frame that was welded onto two bicycle frames at a height providing 40 inches of vertical clearance. Instruments to measure traits such as the foliage temperature and greenness are attached to the frame via arms that are secured with U-bolts. A large, horizontal surface allows mounting data loggers, batteries, or computers. The cart is easily maneuvered by one person on level ground or by two persons on terrain with furrows, berms, or other obstacles. Design sketches and lists of materials are provided in an electronic supplement. The basic design is readily modifiable for different inter-row spacings and sensor positions. The design of this simple, low-cost cart is expected to facilitate numerous innovations in field research. Ultimately, this should lead to improved varieties and crop management practices that increase yields while conserving resources.

Last Modified: 4/24/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page