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Bayer and FaunaPhotonics develop sensor tech to monitor insect pests

Bayer and FaunaPhotonics, Copenhagen, Denmark, have entered into a three-year research cooperation to develop new sensor solutions for improved monitoring of agricultural insect pests as well as non-target insects including beneficials. Efficient pest control which at the same time spares beneficials and pollinators is one of the biggest challenges facing farmers worldwide. The ability to systematically and efficiently detect and identify insect populations is key to improved integrated pest management (IPM), which relies on the accuracy of pest population monitoring techniques.

“New sensor solutions can deliver data directly to our Digital Farming tools and will enable farmers to make faster and better decisions, in particular in terms of a more targeted application of crop protections products,” said Ole Peters, Digital Farming Technology Lead at Crop Science, a division of Bayer. “Knowing what is going on in the field makes a farmer’s life easier, secures harvests, boosts yields and protects pollinators.”

“The collaboration with Bayer will allow FaunaPhotonics to move forward important sensor technology in the insect monitoring area,” added Frederik Taarnhøj, CEO and Co-Founder of FaunaPhotonics. “The new technology is expected to fill gaps in our knowledge of insect populations, leading to improvements in insect control and more sustainable food production.”

The three founders of FaunaPhotonics, Carsten Kirkeby, Frederik Taarnhøj and Mikkel Brydegaard Sørensen (from left to right) in the field with prototype equipment.

Insect pests directly damage crops causing significant losses, and pest control has always been considered the most difficult challenge to overcome. The main reason is that the dynamics of the pest population density in the field cannot be accurately monitored. Until now, monitoring methods have been based on manual techniques that do not lend themselves well to automation and digital software solutions. Furthermore, at farm level, regular monitoring of fields is a labor-intensive, time-consuming and costly activity, in particular for large farm operations.

Bayer and FaunaPhotonics strongly believe that the joint development of an affordable sensor-based digital solution which allows precise, accurate and efficient insect monitoring including forecasting will be greatly advantageous for growers worldwide. The research and development collaboration is titled “Agronomic pest mitigation & non-target effects mitigation strategies using in-field light detection and ranging (LIDAR) based aerial-fauna detection.”

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