APT picking technology targets cherry growers

South Australia’s Agricultural Picking Technology (APT) is evolving its innovative picking solution ‘AgPick’ for Australian cherry producers, following its participation and positive engagement with growers at the Fruit Growers Tasmania 30th annual winter conference.

CEO Henrietta Child said it was clear from engagement with cherry growers that they were investigating improved and flexible technology for their operations.

“Many cherry growers already have counting solutions but what they need is an accurate reporting system. Growers want to know who picked their fruit to aid traceability.

“The advantage for AgPick is that it uploads information in real time. It can tell the shed what’s coming from the field – what type of fruit, volumes, and grade. This both enhances productivity and creates efficiencies,” Ms Child said.

“AgPick uses state-of-the-art RFID technology to capture data at the source and has the ability to read QR codes, bar codes, UHF, individual tags, and other technologies already in place as well as mixing and matching workflows to tailor the user experience to the farm’s needs.

“This functionality means the system can easily work with existing protocols and systems and is easy to use with minimal upfront training and set up,” she said.

“AgPick implements a ‘net change’ history of every change, using an immutable block chain of the user’s interactions with the system, where it can replay whole days of work from base transactions, adjust final results and easily understand a process that occurred in the real world.

“It also pre-works transaction data into a real-time read-store that enriches data and makes it query friendly. The same APIs are used for the mobile client and portal, using a modern browser framework, so development is easy and common. Adding a feature to both is simple and clean.”

While AgPick relies on mobile devices and data upload, it makes use of mobile touch screen technology to reduce or eliminate the need for tray tagging. The system supports both hourly and piece rate operations and allows individual workers to easily be moved between hourly and piece rate as they gain experience. It also captures weight in the field via Bluetooth connection with scales.

Ms Child said direct entry of pick quantities can be used to support punnet picking and recording. “AgPick can select grade and customer to enable immediate reporting of quantities picked by contract or grade at the block level and summarised by day.

“It also records attendance and labour information for all on-farm activities, including maintenance and Capex plus packing shed labour management.”

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