Fruit growers and preservers Wilkin & Sons have joined forces with academic experts at the University of Essex in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to monitor and prevent disease of their strawberry crop using the latest computer vision techniques.
Wilkin & Sons, who have farmed in Tiptree for nearly 300 years, will work with the University of Essex on a project which combines research on plant disease with Internet of Things (IoT) and computer vision expertise to monitor strawberry crop disease by drone, with the aim of reducing inputs and improving yield.
Wilkin’s ambition is to innovate and become more productive in terms of yield for the strawberry growing arm of the business, while minimising any negative environmental impacts from their operations across their 850-acre farm. The innovative system developed as part of the KTP will integrate wireless sensor networks and computer vision to help Wilkin & Sons work more proactively, enabling them to predict disease outbreaks and target infected crops quickly, should diseases like botrytis and mildew arise.
KTPs link forward thinking organisations with academic expertise. The collaboration formed through KTP introduces and embeds deep knowledge and fresh thinking to strategic innovation projects. Part funded by Innovate UK, these dynamic partnerships have been helping organisations innovate for growth for over 40 years and today more than 800 companies and over 100 UK universities are engaged in KTP.
Funding competitions are open throughout the year. The current competition closes on 15 July.