Innovative approach to fruit yield estimation
Experience and expertise are two important elements in agriculture. Farmers need to know their fields in order to react properly to the needs of their crops and soil.
Nevertheless, challenges like changing climate and more demanding market requirements make optimised results crucial to be successful in the market.
In this context, precision agriculture helps not only keep an eye on each aspect of a farm’s management and potential outcomes, but also improve the agronomic impact of famers on their cultivation, better identifying each crucial requirement.
This was clear to Farid Edrisian, CEO & Co-Founder of Pixofarm, when he decided to start the journey. While leading one of his projects as innovation manager, Mr Edrisian got in touch with the world of precision agriculture and got stunned by its potential.
Together with his colleagues, Dr Hamed Bastani and Dr Stefan Perkmann Berger, the three decided to develop a solution and contribute to the digitalisation and optimisation of the orchard industry.
“In particular, we got to know about the importance of yield monitoring in the fruit production value chain,” Mr Edrisian said. “We realised that currently this process is being done mostly manually and the alternative solutions are either not accurate enough or very expensive.
“Based on our research and many discussions, our mission became very clear for us: We wanted to empower fruit growers worldwide to optimize their harvest, use resources efficiently and get the most out of their orchards.”
The development of the Pixofarm application ran quite fast. The company was founded in 2019 in Austria and today it already has clients in Italy, Austria, Germany, UK, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Poland, and it is now focusing on expanding in the Southern Hemisphere.
“Being in touch with many growers and organisations in this sector helped us a lot,” Mr Edrisian said. “They provide us with valuable feedback and insights based on their experience and we can adapt the product to meet their needs. It is great to see that there are many innovators among the growers, and we hope to meet many more on our path.”
As of today, Pixofarm can be used on a long list of apple varieties and the technology is being developed on other fruits as well. “There are many existing solutions for broadacre agriculture and farming, but not that much for horticulture,” Mr Edrisian said.
“This is the gap Pixofarm is trying to fill. The main idea behind the system is digitalising the manual process of fruit measurement and fruit counting and providing accurate yield estimations.
“Growers use their smartphones and our mobile application to take pictures of a sample of fruit and trees. Thanks to our artificial intelligence technology, they will get in real-time, reliable information on the current average diameter, the daily growth rate, the predicted diameter, size class distribution as well as total yield estimation.
“We hope to get many clients on board this season, as we are keen on bringing more value to growers and support the way they mtake their decisions.
“We know that the data we provide can create huge value for both growers and organisations,” Mr Edrisian said. “Moreover, we support the growers to be more sustainable by helping them use their resources more efficiently.”
Source: Australian Tree Crop