Development of UAS imaging to complement genomics-assisted breeding of shrub willow for improved yield and pest resistance

USDA-NIFA 2018 - 2021. PI (Penn State) Armen R. Kemanian, co-PI Sarah Wurzbacher. Award to Cornell (PI Larry Smart) Using UAV based imaging, this project seeks to quickly phenotype willow cultivars and monitor pests, weeds and other agronomic variables of interest to advance shrub willow cultivation.
Fabius and Preble budbreak at Rockview, 5 April 2017

Fabius and Preble budbreak at Rockview, 5 April 2017

Monitoring willow fields and phenotyping for breeding is challenging in willow due to the tall nature of the plants and long double row architecture. Measuring plants or just field scouting can be time consuming. UAVs are a great tool to make this process more agile and accurate. The imagery can provide powerful extension and education materials.


This project joins a team of researchers from Cornell, SUNY ESF, and Penn State to advance willow technologies for bioenergy and other bioproducts in the northeastern United States. At Penn State, the willow research fields are located at Rockview on I99 near the exit to Bellefonte and 10 minutes from Beaver Stadium, at the beautiful Rock Springs research farm in a bench in the landscape overlooking the valley, and at the living filter, where willow is being tested under heavy irrigation with treated water.