Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Detecting the Attack of the Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera Frugiperda) in Cotton Plants with Machine Learning and Spectral Measurements

Version 1 : Received: 19 February 2021 / Approved: 23 February 2021 / Online: 23 February 2021 (14:12:28 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Precision Agriculture 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s11119-021-09845-4


In cotton cultivars, an insect that causes irreversible damage is the Spodoptera frugiperda, known as the fall armyworm. Since the visual detection of plants is a burdensome task for human inspection, the spectral information related to plant damage, registered on a spectral scale, can be useful. These measurements, associated with machine learning techniques, produce useful information for a rapid and non-invasive inspection method development. To contribute to this gap fulfillment, this paper proposes a machine learning framework to model the spectral response of cotton plants under the attack of the fall armyworm. Additionally, a theoretical model is presented, built from the results of the machine learning analysis, to infer this damage with up-to-date orbital sensors. The data was composed of the reflectance measurements collected at a cotton field with control plants and plants submitted to Spodoptera frugiperda damage. Their spectral response was recorded with a hand-held spectroradiometer ranging from 350 to 2,500 nm, for eight consecutive days. Different machine learning models were evaluated and the overall best model was defined by accuracies comparisons on a testing-set. A ranking approach was adopted based on the model accuracy, returning the most contributive wavelengths for the classification. Sequentially, an unsupervised neural network (Self-Organizing Map - SOM) was implemented to reduce data-dimensionality and assist in the definition of important spectral regions. The regions were associated with the spectral bands of the two sensors (OLI and MSI) and a theoretical model using a band simulation process with the overall best machine learning model was proposed. The results indicated that the Random Forest (RF) algorithm is the most suitable to predict cotton-plants damaged by insects and that the last day of analysis (8th day) was better to separate it, with F-measure equals 0.912. The ranking approach combined with the SOM method indicated the spectral regions at the red to near-infrared (650 to 1,350 nm) and shortwave infrared (1,570 to 1,640 nm) as the most important regions to the analysis. The proposed theoretical model simulated with the OLI and MSI sensor-bands returned an F-Measure of 0.865 and 0.886, respectively. In conclusion, this framework can be used to map cotton-plants under insect-attack. The theoretical model presents high accuracy to infer the insect-damaged on cotton plants based on multispectral bands from other sensors, being a useful tool for future research that intends to evaluate it in other areas and at different field scales.


machine learning; insect-damage; spectral data; theoretical model


EARTH SCIENCES, Geoinformatics

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