Using GeoEye-1 Imagery for Multi-Temporal Object-Based Detection of Canegrub Damage in Sugarcane Fields in Queensland, Australia

The greyback canegrub (Dermolepida albohirtum) is the main pest of sugarcane crops in all cane-growing regions between Mossman (16.5 °S) and Sarina (21.5 °S) in Queensland, Australia. In previous years, high infestations have cost the industry up to $40 million. However, identifying damage in the field is difficult due to the often impenetrable nature of the sugarcane crop. Satellite imagery offers a feasible means of achieving this by examining the visual characteristics of stool tipping, changed leaf color, and exposure of soil in damaged areas. The objective of this study was to use geographic object-based image analysis (GEOBIA) and high-spatial resolution GeoEye-1 satellite imagery for three years to map canegrub damage and develop two mapping approaches suitable for risk mapping. The GEOBIA mapping approach for canegrub damage detection was evaluated over three selected study sites in Queensland, covering a total of 254 km2 and included five main steps developed in the eCognition Developer software. These included: (1) initial segmentation of sugarcane block boundaries; (2) classification and subsequent omission of fallow/harvested fields, tracks, and other non-sugarcane features within the block boundaries; (3) identification of likely canegrub-damaged areas with low NDVI values and high levels of image texture within each block; (4) the further refining of canegrub damaged areas to low, medium, and high likelihood; and (5) risk classification. The validation based on field observations of canegrub damage at the time of the satellite image capture yielded producer €™s accuracies between 75% and 98.7%, depending on the study site. Error of commission occurred in some cases due to sprawling, drainage issues, wind, weed, and pig damage. The two developed risk mapping approaches were based on the results of the canegrub damage detection. This research will improve decision making by growers affected by canegrub damage.

Johansen K, Sallam N, Robson A, Samson P, Chandler K, et al. (2017) Using GeoEye-1 Imagery for Multi-Temporal Object-Based Detection of Canegrub Damage in Sugarcane Fields in Queensland, Australia. GIScience & Remote Sensing: 1–21. Available:

Funding for this work was provided by Sugar Research Australia. Significant input and field assistance were provided by cane growers, productivity services, and mills from each of the three regions.

Informa UK Limited

GIScience & Remote Sensing


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