To achieve high yield of crops and to avoid pesticide abuse, different control methods have been adopted according to different degrees of disease in crop plants. To address the issue, a leaf disease grade identification method based on a convolutional neural network (CNN) was proposed. First, nonuniform illumination images were processed using an adaptive adjustment algorithm based on a two-dimensional (2-D) gamma function. Then a threshold segmentation method was used to segment diseased leaf images and thus to obtain binary images. Next, the ratio of the number of pixels in the lesion area to that in the diseased leaf area was calculated. This ratio was regarded as the classification threshold of the disease grades, and therefore was used to determine the disease grade category. In addition, use of a ResNet50-based CNN was proposed to identify disease grades, with a focal loss function replacing the standard cross entropy loss function, and with the Adam optimization method. Finally, leaf disease grade identification was performed on a database containing 10 types of disease leaf images for 8 crops, and it yielded a recognition accuracy of 95.61%. The experimental results showed that the proposed method was feasible and effective for the classification of leaf disease grades.
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