The creator of a new device that automates the process of monitoring pests in traps on farms and collects data on other aspects says it could provide huge benefits for fruit growers in the future.
The Neltume was developed to allow farmers to carry out evaluations remotely and to alert them to the presence of damaging organisms so that they can take action quickly.
Antonio Cabreira, co-founder of the project, told FreshFruitPortal.com the advantages include cost-reduction and potentially lower use of pesticides.
“We started in 2015 [in Chile] developing a solution to remotely monitor Lobesia botrana … but over time we realized that the collection of data has a load of other advantages,” he said.
He said that one of the most important was the ability to estimate the required levels of agrochemical applications according to the development of larvae, thereby allowing for more efficient use of such products.
Currently he is working with companies and phytosanitary organizations in Chile, Peru and Argentina.
The technology combines solar power, sensors, cameras, and image processing to monitor the farms.
Cabreira explained that the risk of exporting contaminated fruit had such serious consequences that the fruit industry tended to do numerous pesticide applications annually.
However, he said that use of this device could prevent such heavy spraying, as applications could be made only when necessary, according to the data.
In addition, he said there were large economic savings to be made.
“We can save up to 51% of the monitoring costs from monitoring twice a week, as well as being alerted to detections the same day they occur,” he said.
Some of Cabreira’s clients have also used the device to detect diseases and forecast weather, he said.