Data collection as a competitive advantage

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March 22, 2024 7:00
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Data collection as a competitive advantage

The competitive advantages you gain with crop monitoring and data collection in the soft fruit and agricultural sector.

The soft fruit sector is facing some serious challenges. Think extreme climate, water scarcity, rising energy prices, to name just a few. Data and innovative technology will help the sector get the right actionable insights to optimise the business and to cope all these challenges.

The data challenge in agriculture – a multi-year investment

Due to the seasonality of the sector, collecting data takes a lot of time. For example: Collecting a complete set of data on a spring crop covers the entire period of existence of that plant field. To gain valuable insights about this spring crop, you would ideally want to compare spring crop performance with last year's spring performance or next year's expectations with associated field plantings.

This means that it takes several years to collect valuable datasets that can be used for benchmarking, and later, once several years of datasets have been collected, also for training AI models and smarter analytics.

Each missed dataset means a year's delay in valuable insights that can help you make your business more sustainable and efficient.

In the agricultural sector, collecting valuable datasets at crop level is a multi-year investment due to the seasonality of crops. In short, each missed dataset means a year's delay in valuable insights that can help you make your business more sustainable and efficient.  

Not everyone in the sector understands the urgency to start collecting this valuable data. But those who do will have a big advantage over the rest, and certainly a competitive edge.

Data collection is your biggest enabler

The soft fruit sector is at a turning point due to the many challenges it's facing. There is a great need for the sector to innovate and change in order to cope and set new directions to keep businesses healthy. Data is one of the greatest enablers of this change. It is the oil that fuels innovation and drives informed decisions about the changes needed.  

Collecting data within your soft fruit business is essential to securing the future of your business. Clear data-driven insights and tools will impact your revenue and operational efficiency. It also goes beyond working in an Excel spreadsheet system that is an offline document. But you want all your people working in and with the same data sources, the same system, to be on the same page and always have real-time insights to guide them.  

Collecting crop level data, crop performance, combined with climate data, allows you to optimise your crop performance, but also to plan your resources and sales activities efficiently.

Automatically monitor your crop and be prepared for the demanding future

Crop monitoring is usually done manually by the grower, farm workers and/or agronomists. It's a labour-intensive task and is often done inconsistently by different people. In particular, with scouting tasks such as fruit counting and classification, we see a lot of different results when they are done manually. This is due to the interpretation of the fruit classifications and the accuracy of the scouter.  

Automated crop monitoring is a very reliable and consistent method of collecting data, saving a lot of valuable time.  

At YieldComputer, we help our customers with automated crop monitoring by deploying our SmartCropCam in the field. This is an autonomous climate station equipped with a camera. As well as monitoring the climate, we also take daily pictures of your crop, which are automatically sent to our platform. On the platform we run several computer vision models on the image. This allows us to count and classify fruit in a split second at multiple locations in your crop on a daily basis.  

Because our computer vision technology always counts in the same way, the results are very consistent and with a high daily frequency. The good thing about images is that we can continue to use new computer vision models in the future for different purposes, such as disease detection and looking back at historical harvests. In this way, we can retrospectively enrich the data we have already collected. With historical manual scouting data, that is simply not possible.

The decisions you make today will affect the efficiency of your business tomorrow.  

Do not want to miss out? Get started!

Contact us to discuss how we can help you with automated data collection, actionable insights and tools to optimise your business.

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