Autonomous flower density and tree canopy measurement
- Contract spray companies interested in new products and services
- Agronomists interested in new products or services
- Producers that are interested in developing and commercialising the technology
Industry challenge: The accurate assessment of apple orchard flower development stages is important for chemical thinning and other management practices to maximise yields. This is currently a manual process that results in producers generally using a single spray regime for an orchard regardless of the characteristics of individual trees.
Current opportunity: Hort Innovation, SwarmFarm and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have developed a prototype solution that delivers:
- a variable rate and dilution spraying system that can be carried by an autonomous robot or mounted on existing farm machinery in an apple orchard;
- a mobile canopy density measurement system;
- a mobile flower density measurement system; and
- a decision support tool.
The prototype and decision support tool offers producers a more accurate assessment of orchard flower development stages and density by assessing individual trees using computer vision. Maps are produced to target the timing of chemical thinning applications of individual trees resulting in improved management practices and crop yields. An opportunity exists for contract spray companies, agronomists and producers to commercialise this technology.
Future opportunity: Opportunity exists to adapt the technology to other orchard production systems in Australia and internationally that use chemical thinning practices e.g. almonds.
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