Satellites helping with NT mango harvest

Mangoes Sept. 22, 2021

Images beamed back from space are helping Northern Territory farmers plan their harvests including to predict the equipment and number of staff that may be needed.

The three-year trial is winding up this harvest and has studied images of mango trees at different stages of growth to help estimate whether farmers are in for a productive season.

The trial involved five commercial growers across seven Top End orchards and is jointly funded by the Territory Government, the Federal Government, and Hort Innovation.

The University of New England’s Applied Agricultural Remote Sensing Centre is the project lead, with CQ University Australia, the Australian Mango Industry Association and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland also providing input.

The Territory growers had several different varieties of mango, different management techniques and trees of varying ages.

The information provided from satellite imagery was also used by growers to make decisions around logistics, including labour, equipment, packing, storage and transport, as well as product sales.

The data from the research was presented at the 2021 Developing the North Conference hosted in Darwin and the Australian Mango Industry Association’s August roadshow. 

The researchers will now carry out further analysis of the information at the end of the harvest, with the data to be published by the project teams and distributed to growers.

“Through this collaborative project the UNE’s AARSC team have identified two methodologies for predicting mango yield from satellite imagery, both of which are producing accuracies that exceed current commercial practice and as such have attracted great interest and participation from many Australian growers," said Professor Andrew Robson, director of the Applied Agricultural Remote Sensing Centre at the University of New England.

“These results have established Australia as a global leader in the adoption of satellite imagery for the yield estimation of horticultural tree crops.”

Source: NT Government

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