AI Helps Detect Powdery Mildew Early So Growers Can Manage Disease in Squash (Morning Ag Clips)

AI Helps Detect Powdery Mildew Early So Growers Can Manage Disease in Squash

Plant detectives and engineers from the University of Florida are using artificial intelligence to find a disease early so growers who produce summer squash can keep it under control. Early detection gives farmers a fighting chance at a better crop.

Summer and winter squash are grown commercially throughout the state, particularly in the southeast and southwest of Florida. In 2019, Florida growers harvested 7,700 acres of squash, with a production value of $35.4 million, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

But powdery mildew disease, common throughout the world, can decrease yields. “The ideal environment for powdery mildew to infect is humid weather, high-density planting and shade,” said Yiannis Ampatzidis, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering and co-author of a new study on early detection of powdery mildew, published in the journal Biosystems Engineering.

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