Weed Density and Distribution Estimation for Precision Agriculture Using Semi-Supervised Learning

Shantam Shorewala, Armaan Ashfaque, R. Sidharth, Ujjwal Verma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Uncontrolled growth of weeds can severely affect the crop yield and quality. Unrestricted use of herbicide for weed removal alters biodiversity and cause environmental pollution. Instead, identifying weed-infested regions can aid selective chemical treatment of these regions. Advances in analyzing farm images have resulted in solutions to identify weed plants. However, a majority of these approaches are based on supervised learning methods which requires huge amount of manually annotated images. As a result, these supervised approaches are economically infeasible for the individual farmer because of the wide variety of plant species being cultivated. In this paper, we propose a deep learning-based semi-supervised approach for robust estimation of weed density and distribution across farmlands using only limited color images acquired from autonomous robots. This weed density and distribution can be useful in a site-specific weed management system for selective treatment of infected areas using autonomous robots. In this work, the foreground vegetation pixels containing crops and weeds are first identified using a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) based unsupervised segmentation. Subsequently, the weed infected regions are identified using a fine-tuned CNN, eliminating the need for designing hand-crafted features. The approach is validated on two datasets of different crop/weed species (1) Crop Weed Field Image Dataset (CWFID), which consists of carrot plant images and the (2) Sugar Beets dataset. The proposed method is able to localize weed-infested regions a maximum recall of 0.99 and estimate weed density with a maximum accuracy of 82.13%. Hence, the proposed approach is shown to generalize to different plant species without the need for extensive labeled data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9350244
Pages (from-to)27971-27986
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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