Using artificial intelligence and computerization to assess the size and quality of produce. That’s what Canada-based Croptracker has been doing for the past 17 years. Since 2006, the company has worked with growers, packers, and other companies involved in the produce value chain to enhance productivity and optimize their operations.
“Our Harvest Quality Vision (HQV) product gives orchard managers an idea of the color and size distribution of harvested produce,” says Jeff Chemeres with Croptracker, Inc. Data can simply be captured by making a scan of a bin with product. Data can be gathered during harvest or post-harvest and for each piece that is being detected, hundreds of data points are captured within seconds. For growers for instance, HQV offers course-correct picking during harvest, and it helps growers prioritize which bins leave the orchard in what order. “Today, growers all over the world use our system to access fruit size and color quickly and easily before the produce is sorted, stored, or packed. While most of our customers are based in the USA and New Zealand, we are active in 16 countries around the globe,” Chemeres shared.
In July of this year, the company made an update to its HQV system for apple growers, just in time for North America’s apple harvest. “The system now offers increased accuracy and ease of use for all customers,” commented Chemeres.
A bin with fruit being scanned.
Starch Quality Vision
More recently, Croptracker launched Starch Quality Vision (SQV), a technology specifically developed for the apple industry. It helps growers predict the start of apple harvest by performing a starch-iodine test. “This is considered to be one of the most important pre-harvest tests in the industry,” said Chemeres. “In the weeks leading up to harvest time, growers may perform dozens of starch tests on hundreds of apples as they chart the maturity of the fruit and plan their harvests accordingly.” The tests determine the level of sugar and the results enable growers to determine their harvest dates.
The SQV software has been available since August 15 and is being offered for free to Ontario Apple Growers members as part of their ongoing partnership with Croptracker. The results from the tests that Ontario apple growers perform will provide Croptracker with more information on the quality of apples during harvest.