Ag-Innovation

Oppy announces its first tech investment

Following a year of trials, Oppy will go forward with an investment in automated yield forecasting AI technology with Bloomfield Robotics. This marks the first tech investment for the North American fruit marketer.

In a statement, the company confirmed it initiated its partnership with Bloomfield Robotics in the beginning of 2021, starting with grapes. The pair are now in their second season and analyzing the next move as strategic partners.

“Grapes are just the beginning,” said Garland Perkins, who leads innovative efforts at Oppy as senior manager of innovation and sustainability. “We’re confident that we’ll roll this tech out into other categories in the near future — and with Oppy’s diverse portfolio, we have a wide array of applications to trial.”

Perkins said that the forecasting capabilities provide significantly more data than in-field scouting, and the AI also helps strategically guide the grower’s commercial crop with more accuracy.

The technology uses Bloomfield Robotics' proprietary flash camera, which is attached to a moving vehicle, such as an ATV or tractor. The vehicle then moves through the orchard and takes pixel-by-pixel data.

This data is then processed with deep learning AI to forecast and manage the yield down to the cluster level, allowing it to detect and measure morphological and phenotypic information, thus better informing decisions and enhancing the performance and health of each plant.

“We’re honored and excited to be working so closely with Oppy in an effort to further digitalize their crops,” said Mark DeSantis, CEO of Bloomfield Robotics. “Our team looks forward to supporting Oppy, a company that has grown and delivered fruits and vegetables from around the world for nearly 165 years.”

The financial details of the investment were not disclosed.

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