Until recently, crop monitoring technology and data acquisition systems have been heavily oriented towards row crops, such as grains and vegetables. Now, with a new company providing information management solutions exclusively for tree and vine-based crops, the scope of precision agriculture could branch out to include groves, orchards, and vineyards in the coming years.
Based in Florida and developed over the course of three years, AGERpoint is working to offer growers better control over their apples and oranges through efficient data collection technology and monitoring software.
CEO Thomas McPeek told AgFunder that beyond research institutions, no one has figured out how to accurately measure trees at this scale. “There aren’t any commercial providers who are doing what we’re doing,” he said.
During the data collection process, no tree or vine is left behind, with each individual fully accounted for and measured up, including trunk diameter, height, volume, and canopy density. According to McPeek, those key metrics are paramount in helping farmers predict how much fruit a tree will bear during the season, while also allowing for greater accuracy when applying inputs.
By combining measurements obtained from GPS mapping, HD cameras, 3D laser scanning (the state-of-the-art LiDAR system collects 550,000 points per second), AGERpoint can accurately survey up to 300 acres daily. Once legally permitted, the company is prepared to use UAV (drone) technology, which would make it possible to measure a whopping 1,500 acres per day.
The company’s present goal is to synthesize and translate complex data sets into user-friendly software, like an app that farmers can access on the field through their smart phones or tablets. Simplicity is essential, McPeek said.
“Our biggest focus right now is perfecting the protocol and methods of data collection,” he said. “We want to take all that information, break it down into meaningful data that anyone can understand, and plug it into a platform with an easy-to-use interface.”
AGERpoint is now in Private Preview for a bridge financing on AgFunder.
FEATURED IMAGE: Syam/Flickr