Breeding and selection of nursery plants require evaluation of a wide variety of traits. Characteristics that are visually scored in the field include aesthetic beauty as well as tolerance to (a)biotic stresses, among others. This work proposes methodologies based on vegetation indices and canopy height data derived from visual imagery captured using an RGB (red, green, blue) camera embedded in a drone to rank and select genotypes. This approach relies on quantitative evaluation standards that exclude breeder bias and speed up data collection. A proof of concept for nursery plants was developed in two woody ornamentals: sweet box (Sarcococca Lindl.) and garden rose (Rosa L.). This work aimed to compare methodologies and to propose how drones (unmanned aerial vehicles, UAV) and high throughput field phenotyping (HTFP) can be used in a commercial plant selection program. Data was gathered in 2019 in three well-established breeding trials, two for sweet box and one for rose. Characteristics discussed include plant architecture traits such as plant height and shape in the sweet box and rose as well as floribundity, continuous flowering and disease resistance in roses. Correlations were calculated between on-ground measurements and UAV-derived methods, obtaining significant results. The advantages and disadvantages of the methodology and the approach for each of the traits are discussed.
|Publication status||Published - 13-Dec-2022|