Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Fermata

Computer vision to reduce crop losses from pests and disease

Springwise ChangeNOW

The AI-powered, bespoke camera set-up helps growers spot pests and disease early

Spotted: The global loss of crops due to untreatable pest damage and plant disease is estimated to be between 20 and 40 per cent. With extreme weather exacerbating difficult growing conditions, the recent emergence of a treatment-resistant wheat fungal disease is additional bad news for cereal farmers. Data science company Fermata has an artificial-intelligence-powered (AI) solution that helps growers spot disease early and track plant changes over time. 

Called Croptimus, the data platform is available as a subscription service that includes installation and management support. After the initial installation, the algorithms need two to three weeks to adjust and learn what the farm team wants to track, with data and imagery then available in real-time online.

As well as reducing labour costs, the system helps reduce pesticide use by up to 25 per cent. Automated alerts let growers know when a pest or change in growing conditions is identified. Chemical applications can be applied directly to the affected areas, with no guesswork needed to determine how far a disease has spread.  

The cameras use ethernet cables for power, and each camera visually covers 400 square metres of land, and Fermata provides custom quotes and designs for each plot’s specifications. Right now, the AI monitors problems that affect fruits, leafy greens, and medicinal crops. These include powdery mildew, spider mites, and aphids, and the technology is being trained on additional diseases and insects, as well as an increasing number of crops.  

The use of data in agriculture is constantly improving, with Springwise spotting innovations that include the use of weather data to speed up insurance payments in the event of drought or flooding, and a modelling system that predicts frost in microclimates where high value crops are growing. 

Written By: Keely Khoury




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