Weeds are the major limitation to efficient crop production, and effective weed management is necessary to prevent yield losses due to crop-weed competition. Assessments of the relative efficacy of weed control treatments by traditional counting methods is labor intensive and expensive. More efficient methods are needed for weed control assessments. There is extensive literature on advanced techniques of image analysis for weed recognition, identification, classification, and leaf area, but there is limited information on statistical methods for hypothesis testing when data are obtained by image analysis (RGB decimal code). A traditional multiple comparison test, such as the Dunnett-Tukey-Kramer (DTK) test, is not an optimal statistical strategy for the image analysis because it does not fully utilize information contained in RGB decimal code. In this article, a bootstrap method and a Poisson model are considered to incorporate RGB decimal codes and pixels for comparing multiple treatments on weed control. These statistical methods can also estimate interpretable parameters such as the relative proportion of weed coverage and weed densities. The simulation studies showed that the bootstrap method and the Poisson model are more powerful than the DTK test for a fixed significance level. Using these statistical methods, three soil disinfestation treatments, steam, allyl-isothiocyanate (AITC), and control, were compared. Steam was found to be significantly more effective than AITC, a difference which could not be detected by the DTK test. Our study demonstrates that an appropriate statistical method can leverage statistical power even with a simple RGB index.
Kim DS, Kim SB, Fennimore SA (2019) Incorporating statistical strategy into image analysis to estimate effects of steam and allyl isocyanate on weed control. PLoS ONE 14(9): e0222695. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222695