Root crops like cassava, carrots and potatoes are notoriously good at hiding disease or deficiencies which might affect their growth. While leaves may look green and healthy, farmers can face nasty surprises when they go to harvest their crops.
This also poses problems for plant breeders, who have to wait months or years before knowing how crops respond to drought or temperature changes. Not knowing what nutrients or growing conditions the crop needs early on also hinder crop productivity.
New research using machine learning and to help predict root growth and health with aboveground imagery was published June 14 in Plant Methods.