“Elaborate statistics are not substitute
for meticulous experimentation.”
G.W. Snedecor

Plant scoring app

10min

Why scoring plant experiment data with an application ?

   

scoring plant app field data

How to score phenotyping data from a plant experiment ?

Phenotyping means scoring plant observations to characterize the plant development. It involves taking observations in the field according to some standards that enable to compare data. There are 3 main ways to score plant traits:

  • Paper has some limits, such as the risk to lose data, but it leaves more freedom to the operator taking notations. 
  • Spreadsheet applications are easy to use, but time-consuming, and they don't prevent from losing data .
  • Professional applications such as RnDExp® Mobile enable to collect data securely and save time. Besides, special features such as image capture, vocal recognition and synchronization can be really handy.

More information and live demonstration in the replay video of the webinar.

   

1. How to score plant notations with an application ?

A professional application has very handy features for scoring plant experiment data. Many options ara available to configure the tool to the way crop data is collected :

  • Interactive tools to guide users (Routes, Field Maps…)
  • Variables definition (Number? Letter?...)
  • Shortcuts to enter quickly data
  • Automatic calculations (Multi-Notations…)
  • Standard lists of variables
  • Shortcuts to save time and only store homogeneous data

Scoring Corn crop data on RnDExp® Mobile app

In this example we take notations from a Corn nursery.

The technician follows a route along the field map. Labels on the plots of the map display information that ensure the operator is on the right plot, such as variety names in the below examples.

Every variable is configured with a specific feature to secure and quicken the input:​

scoring plant app vigour scoring

Vigour: "two digits" security that ensures the score is between 1 and 99.

scoring plant app disease limited choice keyboard shortcut

Disease: "limited choice" with "keyboard shortcuts":  1 for Rust, 2 for Leaf Blight, 3 for Phoma and so on...

scoring plant app silking date shortcut

Silking date: "Date shortcuts": 5 for today, 6 for tomorrow, 4 for yesterday, 3 for two days ago and so on...

scoring plant app height corn plant

Height: "Plant-by-plant notation" opens a window to input several figures that will be averaged

More information and live demonstration in the replay video of the webinar.

   

2. Driving the processes involved in plant experiment scoring

A plant scoring app helps breeders drive their phenotype data collection. Below are three examples of processes that can be optimized with an efficient application such as RnDExp® Mobile.

   

scoring plant app variables phenotyping

Variable configuration settings into RnDExp® Mobile

2.1. Standardize the list of crop data variables

Define a complete list of standard variables for the plant scoring app will make sure the whole research department always uses the same, therefore limiting human mistakes and redundancy. Every variable has specific properties to standardize the notations :

  • Type of data: text, integer number, date or picture...
  • Number of figures to limit the entry of outliers
  • Calculations for plant-by-plant multi-notations scoring on a same plot

    

scoring plant app variables shortcut

Shortcuts associated to a limited list of diseases.

2.2. Shortcuts to score plant data fastly

Shortcuts and limited choices are really important to save scoring time and make your data homogeneous. Every disease is associated to a shortcut. For example, if to input "rust", just press "1" and the disease work appears.

   

scoring plant app route field map

Route definition into RnDExp® Mobile

2.3. Automated features to score crop data

Automate some scoring actions help technicians save time and improve their efficiency in the field :

  • Automation of calculation rules
  • Definition of interactive routes
  • "Next empty plot" to select the next plot with an empty notation
  • Auto-enter that validates an entry
  • Auto-copy and Default to propose a value to validate or modify
  • Hiding some variable that can be scored "occasionally"

More information and live demonstration in the replay video of the webinar.

   

3. Tools to score plant phenotypes more efficiently

Apps to score plants include specific tools based on the in-board devices included in the tablets. These tools enable useful features to enhance phenotyping:

  • Enhance material description with pictures
  • Centralize all data into one system, and not spread data into multiple devices
  • Automate some data entry process, such as weight and gps measures

  

scoring plant app image picture

Disease and image scoring on Tomato

3.1. Collect plant pictures to enhance phenotype scoring

It is crucial to capture and store the pictures into your field notebook, in order to keep them linked to the material. With RnDExp® Mobile, the images are stored and centralized into the software, and you can export easily your notebook containing your notations with the associated pictures.

  

scoring plant app voice recognition

Voice recognition to score radish drought resistance with RnDExp® Mobile app

3.2. Voice recognition for hand-free plant scoring

Vocal data scoring lets the operator manipulate the plants while speaking to the app.

On this short video we use voice recognition to take radish notations after drought. The application tells the 2 idenfiers  (treatment number and variety name), then the technician says directly the 3 notations one by one. For faster scoring, shortcuts are configured for disease and date.

  

scoring plant app connected device scale

Connected crop data collection with barcode reader and scale

3.3. Identify and score plant measures with devices

Automate identification and measurements saves time and avoid errors during the scoring:

  • A barcode reader identifies the material
  • Measurement devices input weight, humidity or another variable

On the video, you can see tomato weight automated with a barcode reader and a scale connected to the tablet through the app.

More information and live demonstration in the replay video of the webinar.

   

4. Automate plant scoring apps configuration and data transfers

Preparing the notation notebooks and retrieving data in the breeding software can take a lot of time, and be source of errors. Most breeding departments experience this, such as Caussade Semences, scoring corn on tablets.

Moreover, results are often needed quickly after the notation, to take decisions. Then how can you make the best profits of your data collected? By digitalizing your scoring into an information system integrated to your research database or breeding software.

4.1. Manage a fleet of plant scoring apps

Plant scoring apps need to be configured before the notation (list of materials, map, route, notations) and the data exported afterwards. These operations can be done manually by Excel or CSV transfers, or by automatic synchronization to a central server linked to the main database system.

scoring plant app synchronization transfer

4.2. Analysis of data from the plant scoring apps

After importing the field results from the plant scoring app, breeders and testers analyze the data directly in the breeding software. Thanks to synchronization, researchers can take decisions in real time.

More information and live demonstration in the replay video of the webinar.

   

Plant scoring apps accelerate and secures field campaigns

A plant scoring app is the key to answer the challenges of real time and big data in field experimentation. Of course, some technical matters must be managed, such as battery life, connectivity, inaccurate notations, but it is still the most efficient and cost-effective way to collect data from the field.

  • Excel is a good solution, if you have a small perimeter of users. This solution presents some limits if you want to manage big scope of users or make some scoring on a long period. And it is difficult to store images, to control data origins and standardize processes with it.
  • Specific solution developped internally can be limited by its maintenance costs over years, and its difficulty to adapt to the evolution of research needs.
  • Standard applications such as RnDExp® Mobile are maintained and will be adapted to research needs over the years by the provider.

Using a plant scoring app allows the research department to:

  • Reduce human mistakes without middleman entries or copies
  • Have a real-time data management to be reactive during processes on field
  • Increase productivity, notably in preparation of the fieldbooks and data exports
  • Optimize field experimentation by enabling more data to be collected from every plot
  • Prepares the research department to bigger volumes of data (satellite, UAV, robots, environmental...)
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CAUSSADE Seed Company breeding Field Crops and Forages
Caussade Semences Plant Breeding Company Caussade's testing team chooses RnDExp® Mobile to accelerate and secure its scorings

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