Pollination services account for one in three mouthfuls of food consumed by human beings. As the Earth's resources are increasingly denuded by the effect of human activity, efficient agricultural and horticultural practices are becoming increasingly important. Precision agriculture management practices can significantly reduce the amount of nutrient and other crop inputs eg. pesticides, whilst at the same time boosting yields.
This feasibility study plans to assess whether an existing precision agriculture tool used for monitoring managed pollinators, can be adapted for increased deployment and uses. This means that it could also be used to monitor ecosystem services, such as pollination services and biological control agents. The feasibility study is looking to see if the tool can be adapted to make it solar powered for longevity in the field, and lightweight and compact in order to increase deployment possibilities.
The precision agriculture tool is a tunable motion detection system which uses advanced computer vision algorithms to detect and track the motion of small objects – such as invertebrates. The ability to do this in a completely automated fashion in the field and away from sources of electrical power, means that jobs which are presently too time consuming and expensive for farmers and horticulturists to contemplate, such as real time management of pollination services in orchards and glasshouses, will become a commercial and practical possibility.
Tumbling Dice Limited, Gosforth (Lead Participant, Participant)