There’s a lot of “noise” in the fruit growing world around the development of on-tree technology. But there are no proven solutions that are ready to help solve the big problems growers face every year and some expect there won’t be for several years yet. The Hectre team has broken down some of those big problems and identified how we can solve those problems for growers – right now!
Crop estimation is a key pre-harvest process fruit growers and agronomists undertake in order to assess likely crop load (volume), as well as the fruit size of that crop and estimated harvest dates. This can affect many facets of their business from labor allocation to export market viability.
Using our Spectre computer vision AI technology, we have developed a solution that can size fruitlets, accurately and within seconds, without any expensive equipment. The idea came about through discussions with valued Hectre client, and apple innovator, Rockit Global. “Rockit has a very strong focus on innovation. They’re always seeking improvements and are often early adopters of new leading-edge technology.”
Aware of the large volume of time involved with staff carrying out traditional pre-harvest manual estimations, the small sample size, and flow on negative impacts of that manual process, Blomfield says Rockit were looking for a better way.
“Rockit have been using Spectre – Hectre’s award winning computer vision AI fruit sizing app that works straight off an iPad or iPhone – for post harvest size and color estimations and wanted to know if there was a way to use our Spectre technology on fruitlets,” explains Blomfield. “We loved the opportunity to solve yet another problem for growers, so our inhouse R&D team went to work and built and trained a new Spectre computer vision model that could work with both small crates and small fruit. And Spectre for Fruitlets was born.”
Customers simply collect fruitlets into a small crate, take a photo on their iPad or iPhone, and Spectre will detect and size a large sample of fruitlets, delivering sizing results within seconds. No manual caliper or sizing ring calculations required.
Fruitlet Sizing In Three Simple Steps
- Collect fruitlets
- Take a photo on iPad or iPhone with Spectre
- Receive results in seconds
Because Spectre for Fruitlets is so simple and quick, rapid samples can be captured across blocks and varieties over time. A two weekly sample can significantly enhance representation of the crop and provide time-based maturity indicators for savvy growers looking to make accurate predictions in years to come.
For immediate impact, users can run a number of Spectre for Fruitlets across a time series, quickly and accurately, to assess fruitlet growth in the lead up to harvest. This data can inform critical decisions such as harvest planning, labor scheduling, packaging purchases and can also assist sales teams in securing valuable early sales orders.
”"At Rockit we do things different, always have, always will – across all areas of our operation. An area that has always posed challenges for growers is harvest estimation. How do we accurately answer the questions of 'When will harvest be ready?' and ‘What size fruit will we have available to sell this year?'.
Until now, we have had to rely on traditional processes which saw our people using manual calipers to size fruitlets across a time series. It's hugely labour intensive and the results are often inaccurate. We had seen Spectre in action for successful post-harvest early fruit sizing and wanted to apply the same technology to pre-harvest estimations.
Now our team can simply take a photo on an iPad or iPhone of a small crate of fruitlets, upload it to Spectre and receive a size distribution graph within seconds. We think this will be a game changer in helping us Rockit every day."Stuart DykesInnovation Manager at Rockit Global Ltd
Adds Blomfield, “Our clever simplicity approach keeps user simplicity at the forefront. If we can take a complex problem like crop size estimation and solve it with a solution which is simple to use and already proven, we know we’re putting value into grower’s hands.”