A new step in precision farming is HarvestEye from B-Hive from the British town of Lincoln. This is a high-tech camera technology in combination with intelligent software for mounting on potato harvesters.
During harvesting, a camera detects all passing potatoes as an all-seeing eye. Software counts them all, measures the size of each potato and also converts this into a net tuber weight. All the data from the newly harvested tubers are available in the wink of an eye to anyone who is connected to the computer that processes all the data mentioned. This can be the harvester driver, but also the person who stores the potatoes and even the buyer. Vidyanath (Vee) Gururajan, Director of B-Hive, a subsidiary of the British potato trading house Brandston, explains that it is the first accurate measurement technique that can determine the net yield of the potato harvest. This then applies to all the varieties for which measurement and weight data have already been entered into the computer program in advance. ‘For a lot of varieties we’ve measured which weight belongs to which size. This is how we know the net weight of each tuber size. If there is soil on the tubers, the computer determines the net size/shape of the potato on the basis of the part that is not covered with soil. Because we have determined the size and weight of millions of tubers, HarvestEye’s measurement is very reliable. The advantage for growers and buyers is that data such as size grading, quantity and net yield are already exactly known during harvesting, making it possible to manage the storage and sales processes more efficiently, which ultimately results in a better return in the entire chain.’ The price for the hardware and software depends on which package you choose, and this depends largely on how many varieties you want to have. For those that are interested, a short video with an explanation can be downloaded on the website www.harvesteye.com. ●
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