"Helping counter decreasing profit margins and labour shortages with Automated Intellegence" Motorleaf and Cultilene partner up
You might know Cultilene as being a global supplier of Albarino diffused glass surfaces and substrates. Now they're adding a completely different project to their assortment. The Dutch company has partnered up with Motorleaf, known for their automated, artificial- intelligence harvest yield forecasts. "We are convinced that Motorleaf's harvest forecast service has added value for tomato and pepper growers worldwide. That is why we are actively bringing this service to the attention of our customers'’, Marielle Klijn with Cultilene explains.
Algorithms that predict future harvests
Knowing exactly when you will harvest what. It might seem like something from the future, but last year tech company Motorleaf launched their weekly harvest yield forecasts. Using big data from greenhouse growing conditions, the innovation resides in building custom-made machine-learning algorithms that predict future greenhouse production levels.
"Let’s make it clear first that we do believe a green thumb is inevitable in the horticultural industry. Replacing growers by technology is not what we aim at. But, we do see that a clear harvest forecast is of value to growers. Knowing when and how much product a business can get to market is essential to its success. This proves challenging in agriculture, where variations in growing conditions cause unpredictable fluctuations in the ripening--and thus, market readiness--of crops like tomatoes and peppers. Current means to predict weekly harvest yields is an imprecise, manual and time-consuming process that is prone to error. With our algorithms, we can help growers reduce risks in this field, streamline their operation, reduce costs and retain agricultural expertise.” Speaking is Jennifer De Braga, head of Global Client Experience at Motorleaf.
Last year the company launched their smart software. "A specific algorithm is created for each greenhouse, depending on the variety, the space that they're growing and the specific location. The resultant algorithm can automate harvest forecasting and provide crop yield predictions with 50-70 per cent less error than estimates made by a human, as is confirmed by our preexisting customers in North America, Japan and Europe. There's no sharing of data between greenhouses - unless of course growers want to share." The algorithms are specific to pepper and tomato crops.
Even with customers in Europe, United States and Japan being enthusiastic about the algorithm, introducing the AI innovation in horticulture is a challenge. "A disconnect between urban technology developers and the diffuse, rural farming community", Jennifer calls it. “Agriculture is totally different from the tech sector. Tech companies are expected to scale with ease using online platforms and digital tools. The fact is that farming remains a personal industry that prefers to seal deals with a handshake between well-known neighbours. Cultilene enables us to make that handshake with greenhouse owners far and wide."
Cultilene has grown from the epicentre for greenhouse farming in Holland to become a global supplier of Albarino diffused glass surfaces and substrates for greenhouses worldwide. Depending on the availability of data from each greenhouse, Cultilene estimates that hundreds of greenhouses on both sides of the Atlantic could benefit from Motorleaf’s AI-automation services. The strategic partnership serves to introduce and educate growers about the novel technology and provide assurances for data protection and cybersecurity.
"We are convinced that Motorleaf's harvest forecast service has added value for tomato and pepper growers worldwide. That is why we are actively bringing this service to the attention of our customers. In addition, this harvest forecast service is a perfect example of “data-driven growing”, one of the most pioneering developments within the global horticulture sector and a cornerstone objective of Cultilene,” said Mariëlle Klijn, marketing manager at Cultilene who occupied an integral role in establishing the partnership.
Establishing the strategic partnership required a year of preparations in order to vet the technology and assure harmony in data security regulations, which differ between Canada and the EU. Now launched, this partnership is representative of the growing ties between the agriculture sectors of both regions. "When aligned through strategic partnerships, the expertise of Holland as greenhouse titan married with rapid innovation in Canada’s artificial intelligence sector enables economic development on both continents", Jennifer concludes.
Meet Motorleaf and Cultilene on the Fruit Logistica in Hall 3.2, booth