If kiwifruit is harvested at the optimal moment, it would better survive shipping and get to market looking and tasting great, says Zespri chief digital officer Dave Scullin. Now, a new automated system for testing the quality and maturity of kiwifruit will tell growers the optimal time to harvest. Zespri worked with the data, analytics and AI arm of Spark, called Qrious, to develop the system.
As kiwifruit matures at different rates, depending on the soil it was grown in, ground aspect and wind and frost exposure, timing the harvest can be difficult. Zespri had a process in place to assess fruit readiness in particular areas of an orchard, but had outgrown the system and needed to develop a replacement for the upcoming season, he said.
Qrious was able to manage complex back-end data and statistical analysis requirements, as well as developing an application growers and pack houses could use. The system had been developed from scratch starting in June and would be ready to start testing fruit in January, in time for the new season.