Ultrasonic Arrays for Remote Sensing of Pasture Biomass

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MDPI (Basel, Switzerland)
(c) 2019 The Author/s
CC BY 4.0
The profitability of agricultural industries that utilise pasture can be strongly affected by the ability to accurately measure pasture biomass. Pasture height measurement is one technique that has been used to estimate pasture biomass. However, pasture height measurement errors can occur if the sensor is mounted to a farm vehicle that experiences tilting or bouncing. This work describes the development of novel low ultrasonic frequency arrays for pasture biomass estimation. Rather than just measuring the distance to the top of the pasture, as previous ultrasonic studies have done, this hardware is designed to also allow ultrasonic measurements to be made vertically through the pasture to the ground. The hardware was mounted to a farm bike driving over pasture at speeds of up to 20 km/h. The analysed results show the ability of the hardware to measure the ground location through the grass. This allowed pasture height measurement to be independent of tilting and bouncing of the farm vehicle, leading to 20 to 25% improvement in the R2 value obtained for biomass estimation compared with the traditional technique. This corresponded to a reduction in root mean squared error of predicted biomass from about 350 to 270 kg/ha, where the average biomass of the pasture was 1915 kg/ha.
pasture biomass, ultrasonic sensing, transducer, microphone, array
Legg M, Bradley S. (2020). Ultrasonic arrays for remote sensing of pasture biomass. Remote Sensing. 12. 1.