Automated Counting of Tobacco Plants Using Multispectral UAV Data

Hong Lin, Zhuqun Chen, Zhenping Qiang, Su Kit Tang, Lin Liu, Giovanni Pau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plant counting is an important part in precision agriculture (PA). The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) becomes popular in agriculture because it can capture data with higher spatiotemporal resolution. When it is equipped with multispectral sensors, more meaningful multispectral data is obtained for plants’ analysis. After tobacco seedlings are raised, they are transplanted into the field. The counting of tobacco plant stands in the field is important for monitoring the transplant survival rate, growth situation, and yield estimation. In this work, we adopt the object detection (OD) method of deep learning to automatically count the plants with multispectral images. For utilizing the advanced YOLOv8 network, we modified the architecture of the network to adapt to the different band combinations and conducted extensive data pre-processing work. The Red + Green + NIR combination obtains the best detection results, which reveal that using a specific band or band combinations can obtain better results than using the traditional RGB images. For making our method more practical, we designed an algorithm that can handling the image of a whole plot, which is required to be watched. The counting accuracy is as high as 99.53%. The UAV, multispectral data combined with the powerful deep learning methods show promising prospective in PA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2861
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • UAV
  • YOLOv8
  • multispectral data
  • objection detection
  • plant counting
  • tobacco


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