Crop Stress Sensing and Plant Phenotyping Systems: A Review

Geng Bai, Yufeng Ge

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Enhancing resource use efficiency in agricultural field management and breeding high-performance crop varieties are crucial approaches for securing crop yield and mitigating negative environmental impact of crop production. Crop stress sensing and plant phenotyping systems are integral to variable-rate (VR) field management and high-throughput plant phenotyping (HTPP), with both sharing similarities in hardware and data processing techniques. Crop stress sensing systems for VR field management have been studied for decades, aiming to establish more sustainable management practices. Concurrently, significant advancements in HTPP system development have provided a technological foundation for reducing conventional phenotyping costs. In this paper, we present a systematic review of crop stress sensing systems employed in VR field management, followed by an introduction to the sensors and data pipelines commonly used in field HTPP systems. State-of-the-art sensing and decision-making methodologies for irrigation scheduling, nitrogen application, and pesticide spraying are categorized based on the degree of modern sensor and model integration. We highlight the data processing pipelines of three ground-based field HTPP systems developed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Furthermore, we discuss current challenges and propose potential solutions for field HTPP research. Recent progress in artificial intelligence, robotic platforms, and innovative instruments is expected to significantly enhance system performance, encouraging broader adoption by breeders. Direct quantification of major plant physiological processes may represent one of next research frontiers in field HTPP, offering valuable phenotypic data for crop breeding under increasingly unpredictable weather conditions. This review can offer a distinct perspective, benefiting both research communities in a novel manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-81
Number of pages16
JournalSmart Agriculture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 30 2023


  • HTTP system
  • crop stress sensing
  • plant phenotyping
  • variable-rate field management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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