Spectral methods for quantifying seed colour change in maturing Canola for time of windrowing decisions

Katherine Fuhrmann1, Penny Riffikin1, Glenn Fitzgerald2,3, Frank Henry1

1 Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, 915 Mount Napier Road, Hamilton, Victoria, 3300, agriculture.vic.gov.au, kat.fuhrmann@ecodev.vic.gov.au

2 Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, 402 Mair Street, Ballarat, Victoria, 3350.

3 Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, 4 Water Street, Creswick, Victoria 3363, Australia


Windrowing canola within the optimal window for windrowing can improve yield and reduce quality penalties such as green seed being present after windrowing. However it is the subjective nature of assessing seed maturity that makes it difficult to determine the optimal time for windrowing. A quantitative alternative to the current subjective seed colour percentage assessment was sought using spectral information and colour space analysis using two different sensors. A chroma meter, a portable colorimeter that is able to measure small samples and a field spectrometer was used to measure the spectra of maturing seeds and siliques (pods). The field spectrometer was also used to measure the canopy spectra in the field. An L*a*B* colour space analysis was used and it was found that the a* and B* colour spaces axis (both colour-opponent dimensions) did relate seed colour to silique and canopy colour. This appears to be promising as a quantitative method to make informed windrowing decisions. Moisture content was also assessed and it was also found to correlate to the seed colour change and the a* and B* colour space measures.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography david_marland@hotmail.com Southern Farming Systems Agriculture Victoria

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