Yiannis Ampatzidis, a University of Florida agricultural engineer has developed software that can help growers find the best places to plant crops and to identify fruit and vegetable varieties that perform better against diseases. He is currently leading the effort to refine the software so it can help growers even more.
To help farmers protect and even increase their harvests, Ampatzidis, an assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, works on many innovative technologies. His latest is “Agroview.”
The cloud, and artificial intelligence-based software, analyzes data collected from unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), satellites and other platforms, such as small airplanes. In the case of drones, growers save data to a CD-card, then they upload the data to Agroview, using a PC or laptop.
“This software is useful to growers now,” said Ampatzidis, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee, Florida. “For now, we have developed software for citrus, vineyards and sugarcane. We are working on developing similar algorithms for tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries and other tree fruit crops.”
Florida growers welcome any advantage they can get to battle pathogens such as citrus greening. Crop pathogens also threaten the state’s tomato industry, which had sales of $336 million in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.