Annual review of phytopathology vol:41 pages:593-614
There is increasing pressure to reduce the use of pesticides in modem crop production to decrease the environmental impact of current practice and to lower production costs. It is therefore imperative that sprays are only applied when and where needed. Since diseases in fields are frequently patchy, sprays may be applied unnecessarily to disease-free areas. Disease control could be more efficient if disease patches within fields could be identified and spray applied only to the infected areas. Recent developments in optical sensor technology have the potential to enable direct detection of foliar disease under field conditions. This review assesses recent developments in the use of optical methods for detecting foliar disease, evaluates the likely benefits of spatially selective disease control in field crops, and discusses practicalities and limitations of using optical disease detection systems for crop protection in precision pest management.