New technologies as an opportunity for fruit growing

Hanna Totsching
February 1, 2023

New technologies as an opportunity for fruit growing

From traditional agriculture to intelligent algorithms and digital harvest optimization

By 2050, the world's population will increase to around 10 billion people. Not only will productivity have to be increased while maintaining strict quality standards, but the sustainability of processes will also become increasingly important. The key to mastering this Herculean task lies in new technologies.

Agriculture 4.0 is picking up speed

Digitization and modernization of agriculture have experienced an enormous upswing in recent years and have brought with them great opportunities. For example, robots and drones are already being used in isolated cases to relieve the farmer in the field and to automatically document work steps. The next step is to integrate machine learning, big data and artificial intelligence into farmers' everyday operations in order to make agriculture even more efficient and sustainable.

Digital solutions also for fruit growing

In the last decade, however, these digital applications have specialized almost exclusively in arable farming, leaving out other agricultural areas such as fruit growing. Due to the low availability of digital solutions, fruit growers therefore still have to resort to manual documentation of their harvest. However, digitalization also opens up great opportunities in fruit growing, such as the optimization of manual harvesting, improvement of operational procedures and logistics processes, and also the exchange of information between the farmer and organizations and employees.

Data collection of the block with the smartphone

Austrian startup Pixofarm offers a digital solution that enables fruit producers to optimize their harvest with the help of artificial intelligence. The basic idea of the app is to digitize the manual process of counting hangings and measuring fruit size, and to have the data at hand at all times.

Farmers use the Pixofarm app on their smartphones to take photos of a sample of fruit and trees in their orchards. This provides them with real-time, reliable information on the current and expected average diameter, average number of fruits, their growth rate, as well as size class distribution and other relevant information. Additionally, the ideal harvest date for each size class can be determined in the app.

With this information, the fruit producer can not only take certain measures during the season to increase the growth rate and yield, among other things, but also has the advantage of being able to select the right target market weeks before the harvest, negotiate better prices for the harvest and also better organize logistical measures such as harvest workers.

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