Agriculture


Artificial intelligence helps farmers spot diseased corn and soybean faster.

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If farmers want to know how healthy crops are, perhaps they shouldn't trust their eyes. Matt Free -- a manager at Evergreen FS, an agriculture company -- learned that lesson this year. His team provides crop protection services such as fertilizers and herbicides to farmers across Illinois. After a year-long test of a variety of new technologies, Evergreen FS found artificial intelligence could identify trouble, such as fungus growth and water shortages, in corn and soybean crops weeks before the naked eye would ever realize it. The tech, which comes from startup Ceres Imaging, offers farmers an AI analysis of photos taken from planes flying several thousand feet above fields.


Farmers spot diseased crops faster with artificial intelligence

#artificialintelligence

If farmers want to know how healthy crops are, perhaps they shouldn't trust their eyes. Matt Free -- a manager at Evergreen FS, an agriculture company -- learned that lesson this year. His team provides crop protection services such as fertilizers and herbicides to farmers across Illinois. After a year-long test of a variety of new technologies, Evergreen FS found artificial intelligence could identify trouble, such as fungus growth and water shortages, in corn and soybean crops weeks before the naked eye would ever realize it. The tech, which comes from startup Ceres Imaging, offers farmers an AI analysis of photos taken from planes flying several thousand feet above fields.


PODCAST: Machine Learning, AgTech and Tensorflow HPE Newsroom

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The age of highly accessible, open source machine learning tools is upon us. No longer niche, everyone -- from data scientists to Japanese cucumber farmers -- is using machine-learning technologies. But what is machine learning? Machine learning is exactly what it sounds like -- software that can learn to solve a problem. Using large sets of data, an algorithm can be trained to understand that data.


Three very different startups vie for "Robohub Choice"

Robohub

Three very different robotics startups have been battling it out over the last week to win the "Robohub Choice" award in our annual startup competition. One was social, one was medical and one was agricultural! Also, one was from the UK, one was from the Ukraine and one was from Canada. Although nine startups entered the voting, it was clear from the start that it was a three horse race – thanks to our Robohub readers and the social media efforts of the startups. The most popular startup was UniExo with 70.6% of the vote, followed by BotsAndUs on 14.8% and Northstar Robotics on 13.2%.


Spain Tests Artificial Intelligence to Manage Fly

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For the second consecutive year, Spain's agricultural ministry has launched a pilot experiment using artificial intelligence to predict the evolution of the olive fly. The experiment uses data collected on the olive fly by the Andalusian Plant Protection and Information Network (RAIF), a project of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development. The data are analyzed and fed into an artificial intelligence model that can predict the fly's behavior up to four weeks in advance by using machine learning techniques. This method provides a valuable tool for olive farmers to better manage the pest by revealing the areas and dates of the greatest risk of infestation. This also allows for the more efficient planning and designing of measures to control the pest.


How Automation Will Transform Farming

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When Kyler Laird imagines the future of his 1,700-acre Indiana farm, he sees robots playing a major role. I need this technology because I really can't afford to hire anyone. Besides, finding a skilled operator who is willing to work 24 hours a day for three or four days a year is ludicrous," he says. "I can't hire that, but I can make that very inexpensively." For the last two growing seasons Laird, who has a master's degree in ag engineering, has developed autonomous machines to drill, harvest, and plant his crops.


North Dakota Rules Set for Use of Controversial Weed Killer

U.S. News

Monsanto has sued Arkansas over dicamba bans in that state, but a court battle doesn't appear likely in North Dakota. The company says it prefers to work with states and will urge North Dakota officials to be flexible on the cutoff date if conditions warrant.


Russia unveils SKYF heavy lift drones

Daily Mail

A new drone designed by Russian researchers is the hulk of the quadcopter world - and can carry a 400-pound (181-kg) payload and fly for up to eight hours. The multi-rotor, autonomous drone, called SKYF, was designed with logistics and agribusinesses companies in mind to create a air freight platform to help business carry out tasks. The vertical take-off and landing drone has applications in areas such as the aerial application of pesticides and fertilizers, seed planting for forest restoration and emergency situations for food and medicine delivery. The drone, designed by Russian company ARDN technology, has a maximum flight speed of 70 kilometers per hour (43.5 miles per hour) at a maximum height of 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) and has a positional accuracy of 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) The drone, designed by Russian company ARDN technology, has a maximum flight speed of 70 kilometers per hour (43.5 miles per hour) and is 5.2 meters (17 feet) by 2.2 meters (7.2 feet). It can fly at a maximum height of 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) and has a positional accuracy of 30 centimeters (11.8 inches).


Tech-savvy Chinese farmers use drones to spray pesticide

Daily Mail

Farmers in China have caught up with the country's booming drone trend and started using unmanned aircraft to spray pesticide onto the fields. Not only that, a team of villagers in central China recently bought 30 of these bug-zapping vehicles in hope of turning it into a new business. Zhu Xiwang and his neighbours said they hoped their squad of agri-drones to could help them start a pest-killing service, according to Huanqiu.com, an affiliation to People's Daily Online. This £24.8K flat pack folding home takes just SIX HOURS to build Pictures show the 30 drones lining up on a field, ready to take off. The unmanned aircraft, known by its model name MG-1S, is produced by Shenzhen-based Da Jiang Innovation, one of the largest drone manufacturers in China.


Monsanto CIO ties AI investments to business outcomes

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Becoming a data-driven organization isn't some pie-in-the-sky proposition at Monsanto Co. The St. Louis-based agribusiness has formed a center of excellence designed to ensure its business decisions are based on -- and backed by -- data. The "decision science" center of excellence, or CoE, is focused on meshing engineering, data and domain expertise into business decision-making processes, and it uses analytical models and emerging technologies to do it. In this SearchCIO video interview recorded at the recent MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in Cambridge, Mass., Monsanto CIO Jim Swanson talked about the decision science CoE, investments he's making in emerging technologies and, specifically, how he's tying artificial intelligence (AI) investments to business outcomes as a way of measuring their ROI. How does AI figure into your IT operations?