A technical opportunity index based on mathematical morphology for site-specific management: an application to viticulture
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The aim of this paper is to provide a method that enables a farmer to: (i) decide whether or not the spatial variation of a field is suitable for a reliable variable-rate application, (ii) to determine if a particular threshold (field segmentation) based on the within-field data is technically feasible with respect to the equipment for application, and (iii) to produce an appropriate application map. Our method provides a Technical Opportunity index (TOi). The novelty of this approach is to process yield data (or other within-field sources of information) with a mathematical morphological filter based on erosions and dilations. This filter enables us to take into account how the machine operates in the field and especially the minimum area (kernel) within which it can operate reliably. Tests on theoretical fields obtained by a simulated annealing procedure and on a real vineyard showed that the TOi was appropriate for assessing whether the spatial variation in a field was technically manageable.