We have collected great examples of how intelligent algorithms help crop production and increase growers’ productivity during the season, from pre-planting to post-harvest. All the use cases listed require visual data (preferably from drones) and trained AI models to solve particular issues. In a nutshell, visual data provided by drones are the “eyes” of the operation, and AI and machine learning intelligence is the “brain,” together, they are changing the Agroindustry making it more productive and efficient.
This article covers AI application for crops and vegetables such as cereals, corn, soy, wheat, sugar beet, and more, but specific use cases for orchards, indoor farms, and livestock are also feasible and beneficial, this is just a topic for another discussion.
These details most of the time cannot be precisely defined with the human eye or satellite images. Drone images and AI can provide farmers with insights that can bring value even before the first plants appear on the field. Knowing the field’s specificity will help support numerous upcoming decisions on seeding, irrigation, inputs, etc.
Review the precise number of plants in a specific field and make decisive actions if it’s under the norm or expected results. Evaluate seed quality (germination rate), decide whether to replant or not, assess the yield, and mark the zones of potential yield losses.
Since both high and low crop densities reduce yield and total revenue, it is crucial to know the situation on the field as soon as possible. Growers know there is a population for each crop that maximizes crop yield. Start strong!
Accurate chemical thinning of some crops and fruit trees requires estimating their blooming intensity and determining the blooming peak date. With drone data, AI quantifies the size and number of flowers for timing fertilizer input.
Left uncontrolled, weeds can result in 100% yield loss. With vision processing and machine learning technology, today’s AI-driven equipment can reduce 80-90% of herbicide use. AI can distinguish and classify weeds with a high level of accuracy to support wise decisions.
Up to 50% of yield loss is caused by pests and diseases every year. AI technology helps diagnose plant diseases, classify them and significantly decrease the number of chemicals applied.
It is humanly impossible to distinguish insect categories and the growth period of insects without the knowledge of entomology. AI computer vision makes it possible to recognize and classify insects. It can quickly locate the information of an insect positioned in a complex background, accurately distinguish insect species with high similarity, and effectively identify the different phenotypes of the same insect species in different growth periods. This information will help reduce the number of insecticides applied and fight pests intelligently.
The deficiency of this macro-nutrient directly affects crop health and yield. However, when Nitrogen inputs to the soil system exceed crop needs, excessive amounts of nitrates enter ground or surface water, thus leading to significant environmental harm. With the multispectral drone camera and intelligent, trained algorithm, staying informed and supporting decision-making on fertilizer quantity and timing is possible.
Tracking healthy leaf color, plant growth, and ever-changing environmental conditions during the season requires significant time and human efforts. AI computer vision offers an effective alternative for growth stage monitoring because of its low-cost (relative to person-hours invested in manual observations) and the requirement for minimal human intervention, as a result – less costly mistakes and better yield.
As an example – missed tassel recognition during detasseling in maize seed production. Every tassel not removed by a machine leads to unwanted pollination and decreased genetic purity of maize seeds. AI can recognize missed tassels from 3 cm size before they start pollinating and help to save the whole field.
In practice, the crop growth stage is still primarily monitored by-eye, which is laborious and time-consuming and subjective, and error-prone. The application of AI computer vision offers a precise, cheaper alternative to manual observations. It is now easier to plan the labor needs, predict the best harvest day, and even refine revenue projections.
Make sure that you do not leave the revenue behind. This second check and intelligent model will help identify the remaining plant counts and size. Last but not least – there are insights about quantifying crop residue, which help you with your further soil management strategies (like cover cropping or no-till planting).
AI can provide growers with instant insights from their fields help them to identify areas that need fertilization, irrigation, or pesticide treatment. The AI technology combined with timely actions allows growers to reduce the number of fertilizers, help increase food production while minimizing resources, increase yield and profit, and make growers’ lives easier in the current labor-shortage situation. With valuable information, growers can make better decisions, recalibrate their future planting strategy, and finally grow more with confidence.