Creating value for corporate growers
In the 2020 Australian growing season, The Yield conducted a pilot for a major global grower of edible nuts using Sensing+ to improve spray and harvest management practices. The five-month pilot demonstrated that Sensing+ could deliver a AUD$560 to $800 per hectare benefit from improving spray effectiveness and harvest practice on 50 - 70 percent of planted hectares.
What are the problems we are solving?
Unpredictability of Weather
Our customer previously used public weather service providers for their weather data which was relatively inaccurate considering their weather stations were mostly 100+ kilometres from the customer’s sites. Predictions were also calculated on a numerical weather model based on a 3-kilometre by 3-kilometre grid (1.86 miles x 1.86 miles).
Our customer was keen to understand if microclimate data - the specific weather conditions affecting their crops - measured by our Microclimate Sensing Systems (MCSS) could help increase crop spray windows and improve harvest management practices. Practices both essential to achieving the highest quality grades and price.
Risk of pest and disease
Previously, approximately 15% of all hectares did not receive the prescribed number of 12 sprays per year, which in turn led to an increased risk of pest and disease in their crops. The limiting factor was a lack of permissible spray time within the required spray windows available to meet environmental compliance requirements.
Harvest activities were constrained by the accuracy of localised rain predictions. Inclement weather led to stoppages and rescheduling of harvest activities. This meant contracted labour and equipment was under-utilised, resulting in significant delays and costs to the business.
Testing success - Pilot project to test expected outcomes
The pilot project was run across two farms with nine different sensing locations. The customer’s standard spray rules were configured in the Sensing+ notification platform to enable better site planning and spray scheduling based on local conditions as well as when to stop and start spraying based on microclimate conditions.
Historical data was recorded in the Sensing+ web app to create an auditable record of conditions of when spraying was conducted. The pilot measured the impact on spray and harvest practice using microclimate data compared with the alternative gridded products.
The success factor - Pilot outcomes
There were two clear outcomes from the pilot.
Improved Spray Effectiveness
Sensing+ doubled the time for permissible spraying (173 hours per month). This equated to an additional 86 permissible daytime spraying hours on average per site/month from using the Sensing+ MCSS instead of the alternative gridded data weather service.
Using this additional bandwidth of time available for spraying, all hectares could receive one extra daytime spray each year - based on sprayer capacity for the customer’s farm operations in Australia.
Better Harvest Practice - Weather Prediction
Sensing+ predicted 94 out of 95 non-rain days, and five out of seven rain days more than six days out.
This level of accuracy in rain event / no-rain event prediction enables significant value creation during harvest, by ensuring labour and equipment can be fully utilised and deployed to the right blocks at the right time.
Easy to Use Apps
All users of the Sensing+ mobile app set “notifications” based “rules” for weather phenomenon thresholds. Users were then notified by Sensing+ both in the mobile app and via SMS.
Sensing+ is easy to use through:
1. 3-day Predictive Notifications based on the customer’s operating “rules of thumb” for spray and harvesting.
2. The Growing Conditions tab of the mobile app: “TODAY”, “TOMORROW” and “NEXT 7” (days).
3. 14-day view (gridded weather), which provides a longer runway perspective for the sites
4. A filtering function that enables users to sort sites by weather conditions and for predictions.
Sensing+ Quick Stats
During the pilot, The Yield supported 183 sensing points across two sites for our customer. There were >1.4 million data packets received; and 104 observed notifications and 653 predictive notifications, based on 60 notification rules.
Sensing+ observes and records weather data in 15-minute increments, including minimum, maximum and the average. Users can visualise and download data for all weather phenomenon, from all nodes, back to time of commissioning.
Value benefits realisation - What does it mean for our customer?
The pilot validated that Sensing+ could deliver increased revenue to the value of AUD$560 - $800 per hectare per annum from improved spray effectiveness and harvest management practice. This enabled a multi-million-dollar benefit given the size of the customer.
Increasing spray windows using localised microclimate weather data also enabled more cost-effective automation for the business.
For further information on Sensing+ and how we can help you #growbetter contact
Alex Cheal on +61 417 533 260 | firstname.lastname@example.org