Israeli technology company SupPlant has been funded by the Polish government to develop new smart irrigation methods to help small farmers.
The grant of €1.6 million (£1.4 million) to the leading precision agriculture hardware-software solution firm comes from Poland’s National Centre for Research and Development.
It follows the setting up of new offices this month by SupPlant, which intends working alongside Professor Waldemar Treder, a specialised in plant management at the Research Institute of Horticulture in Skierniewice.
The Polish investment is intended to help farmers working holdings of less that 10 hectares.
Eighty per cent of the world’s farmers are smallholders who are dealing daily with challenges such as the unpredictable climate that is changing rapidly, differentiating each plant’s water needs, the price of water and the need to feed the people around them.
SupPlant’s technology is being used by farmers in 14 countries around the world, including Australia, Mexico and South Africa.
This grant is supporting the development of more advanced technology, a mobile application which will avoid the need for physical sensors, and a smart water valve which will communicate with SupPlant’s application.
By changing the basic concept of irrigation methods and sensing the plant’s stress, this unique technology will assist small farmers to manage their water budgets efficiently, save water, reduce costs, improve productivity and yield.
SupPlant uses agronomic algorithms, sensors, artificial intelligence and cloud-based technology in order to achieve more resilient crops while saving on resources and increased yields.
Its algorithms use information from plant and soil sensors (soil moisture, stem/trunk diameter, leaf temperature and fruit size), sent to the cloud every 30 minutes.
The algorithms identify the stress status of the plant, and calculate the optimal irrigation plan.
This is then sent to the farmer as a recommendation or sent to the irrigation controller for a fully autonomous irrigation system.
Plants’ data are combined with SupPlant’s proprietary big-data collected over 1,000 growing seasons and fed into its unique agronomist-supported algorithm.
This yields high resolution, real-time, and forecasted insights and irrigation recommendations.
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