Costa Group has signed an agreement with Israel-based Arugga which will deploy its pollination robots on 10 hectares of Costa’s glasshouse tomato crop.
Costa’s tomatoes are grown in one of Australia’s largest and most advanced glasshouse facilities, located in the New South Wales town of Guyra. Tal Kanety, one of Costa Tomato Category’s Senior Grower Managers says that quality pollination is key to growing healthy fruits.
”We have been impressed by the results achieved by Arugga’s robots in our Guyra tomato glasshouse. Quality pollination is vital to our efficient growing of tomatoes. We currently rely on hand pollination, so to have this new technology available to us in Australia is potentially game-changing.,” said Tal.
In total, Costa’s current Guyra glasshouses have 302,400 square meters (30.22ha) of growing area (approximately 12 AFL football fields) and at peak production hold more than one million plants. The company is in the process of increasing its production area by 33 percent to 40ha.
“We are grateful to the Costa Group for being an early believer in our technology. Their teams have been supportive from the start and with their great help, we have managed to overcome Covid-related barriers, successfully completing a trial remotely from Israel” says Iddo Geltner, CEO of Arugga. “We very much look forward to expanding our collaboration with Costa, with initial coverage of their vine tomato crops”.
Beyond pollination, the Arugga team has started working on a second module which will be added to the same robotic platform supporting pollination. Iddo Geltner states that “we intend to be the ‘boots on the ground’ helping growers like Costa solve critical challenges related to more efficient pollination and reduced labor costs while minimizing the spread of viruses with our non-contact solutions”.
“The ever-increasing use of robotics, artificial intelligence, and digitalization in glasshouse farming is the future of horticulture and we are certainly encouraged by Arugga’s innovations”, said Mr. Kanety.