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Smart Pest Management For Fruit, Nut and Grape Growers

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Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

FieldIn’s software helps commercial farmers eliminate spraying mistakes, reducing the number of sprays and overall use of pesticides on their crops.

As reported in Israel21C:

Controlling pests with minimal spraying is a difficult balancing act for commercial growers. And surprisingly, they don’t have a reliable mechanism to assure that the right quantity reaches every tree or vine; some may be missed or over-sprayed.

Israeli ag-tech startup FieldIn innovated an end-to-end pest-management software to achieve that balance with input from innovative tractor hardware and a host of agronomic data.

In addition to all major grower organizations in Israel, FieldIn technology is now used by one of Italy’s largest wineries and by prominent nut and wine producers in California. The product is designed for “specialty” crops including almonds, citrus, wine grapes, apples, avocados and pomegranates.

“A large percentage of our customers either spray too much or too little, or miss rows, or spray under unfavorable weather conditions, but they don’t realize it,” said Amit, VP Business Development. “Every year $14 billion is spent on pesticides for specialty crops, and pest management accounts for 15 to 20 percent of total seasonal expenditures, but it’s like a black hole because they’re operating blind. FieldIn serves as their eyes.”

FieldIn provides an app to help field scouts monitor ground conditions and weather parameters; a decision-making module for the pest-control adviser; and a hardware component to let growers and tractor operators know where and when the sprayers sprayed and at what velocity and volume.

“We grade every spray for efficiency and if something went wrong, you’ll know about it,” says Amit.

The system sends reports to farm executives and growers that help them identify areas needing attention and comply with regulations on reporting pesticide use.

“In specialty crops you can’t afford to make mistakes in pest management because you see the results of your mistakes only at the packing house after investing in the produce. About 20% on average of some crops will not be packed and will be sold at a loss price or not sold at all, and we believe the main reason for that is inefficient spray operations.”

Horticulture is a $9 billion industry in Australia, and the second-largest sector within Australian agriculture after grains.