Classification of wheat diseases using deep learning networks with field and glasshouse images

gold Gold open access

Crop diseases can cause major yield losses, so the ability to detect and identify them in their early stages is important for disease control. Deep learning methods have shown promise in classifying multiple diseases; however, many studies do not use datasets that represent real field conditions, necessitating either further image processing or reducing their applicability. In this paper, we present a dataset of wheat images taken in real growth situations, including both field and glasshouse conditions, with five categories: healthy plants and four foliar diseases, yellow rust, brown rust, powdery mildew and Septoria leaf blotch. This dataset was used to train a deep learning model. The resulting model, named CerealConv, reached a 97.05% classification accuracy. When tested against trained pathologists on a subset of images from the larger dataset, the model delivered an accuracy score 2% higher than the best-performing pathologist. Image masks were used to show that the model was using the correct information to drive its classifications. These results show that deep learning networks are a viable tool for disease detection and classification in the field, and disease quantification is a logical next step.