Advancements in optics and miniaturisation have resulted in multi- and hyperspectral imaging systems becoming more approachable in terms of cost, practicality and useability. Globally, the majority of farms are considered to be small farms (<2 hectares). Many spectral imaging applications have been associated with agricultural commodities over the years. However, due to the cost, technology hurdles and complex statistical modelling methods, these applications have mainly been implemented in larger monoculture settings where the method development time required can be met with and substantiated through higher profits gained and reduced labour in the long term. Recent years have seen advancements in spectral imaging technologies as well as open-source systems that have the potential for application on smaller, more diversified farms. There are many hurdles to face before spectral imaging technologies see widespread application on smaller farms, but technologies are advancing rapidly. Here, the current state of spectral imaging in small farm applications is evaluated, along with the potential for low-cost and open-source spectral imaging systems. Emphasis is placed on challenges which require addressing prior to approachable spectral imaging for the small farm.
Keywords: spectral imaging, small farm, precision agriculture, spectroscopy