Reading agritech business to host webinar on deployment of AI to boost crop productivity

Farmer with tractor seeding crops at field

As the UK saw the driest May on record, Reading-based Agrimetrics, the Agri-food Data Marketplace, is working with Aerospace giant Airbus to deploy artificial intelligence and satellite data to address agronomic challenges, with improving irrigation as a priority.

AI was trained to analyse satellite imagery and return 15 attributes. These include Leaf Area Index (LAI), which can be combined with other Agrimetrics data to calculate water soil balance and plant water stress.

The company is hosting a webinar on July 1st to show how AI is helping one international farming business increase margins by 15 per cent. through accurately predicting the shipment window a harvest will mature in.

Delayed harvests are a big problem for international farming. Overseas crops are grown to a specified shipment window, which provides retailers with a constant supply of fresh produce. If windows are missed, growers are generally responsible for making up the shortfall.

Purchasing produce from a third-party supplier or airfreight are the most common ways to do this. Both are expensive. Costs for one of the UK’s leading food and farming business run to £120,000 per week – just for sweetcorn, one of 13 main crops.

But these costs can be reduced substantially if a grower knows in good time that a shipment will be missed. The more time the grower has to source and negotiate alternatives, the lower the cost will be.

“Getting field water balance right is essential for producing a healthy crop,” says Dr Matthew Smith, Agrimetrics Chief Product Officer. “This data will enable users to develop more accurate estimations of a field’s water balance in near-to-real-time. This will help growers decide when and where to irrigate.”

Agrimetrics is pitching its solution at researchers and agri-tech, as well as the rapidly growing digital agronomy sector.

“Both traditional farm advisors and new digital services are looking for ways to increase their profitability by delivering more value to their customers in innovative ways,” says Anna Woodley, Agrimetrics Head of Sales. “What we are doing with Airbus is providing these organisations with the data streams, platform and data science expertise they need to develop new products and get those products to market quickly.”

“Water scarcity is already an issue in many countries; even in the UK, last year we saw water abstraction restrictions across East England,” said Anna. “I think we are approaching a time when we will need to justify and evidence our use of water in the same way as we do our use of fertilisers and pesticides. Improving the sophistication of our management practices today could be key to avoiding regulation and restriction tomorrow.”