New Zealand’s citrus industry gathered last week in Gisborne for the 2022 Citrus NZ Conference. One of the highlights of the event was the chance to see up close the award winning mobile citrus sizing app, Spectre for Citrus.
Hectre, the fruit tech start-up who developed the app, were invited to demonstrate Spectre for Citrus during the field trip component of the conference.
The innovative app uses state-of-the-art computer vision and machine learning technology to detect and size citrus fruit, and all that is required is a photo of the fruit bin taken on iPad or iPhone. A size distribution graph is served up within seconds and data can be shared.
Spectre for Citrus being used at NZ’s largest domestic citrus supplier, First Fresh NZ, to size lemons.
Spectre for Citrus was developed specifically for citrus fruits to provide valuable early size data for improved decision making around picking, packing, storage, and sales.
First Fresh NZ (the largest citrus supplier to the NZ domestic market) has been using Spectre for Citrus since 2020. First Fresh NZ Managing Director, Ian Albers, was recently interviewed and described the value of Spectre for Citrus for both orchards and packhouses.
“It’s really easy to take photos, get the results, report back in real-time to the grower, and have that information flow back into our system. If there’s a size limitation the pickers should be adhering to, with Spectre for Citrus, growers can make adjustments on the fly. And this technology helps us to prioritize in terms of which customers we might pack for in what particular order,” states Albers.
And it wasn’t just leading-edge tech that Hectre brought to the conference. Fun was on the agenda too! As they did at the recent APAL Orchard Tour where Hectre’s Spectre for Apples was showcased, Hectre’s Kevin Park and Danny Herbert offered attendees the chance to try and beat Spectre and win themselves some craft beers. The popular competition, “Beat Spectre for Beersies”, sees attendees making their own “guesstimations” of the top three fruit size ranges in a bin of oranges.
“We love bringing this Hectre competition to industry. As always, it was competitive! Neighbour verse neighbour, packhouse verse packhouse, lots of self-described orange sizing experts keen to give it a go. A real crowd pleaser!” said Herbert.
Spectre began as an early apple sizing application. In response to industry demand, Spectre for Citrus, Spectre for Color and Spectre for Cherries were also developed and are now being used by the likes of Rockit Global, Washington Fruit and Produce Company, Sage Fruit, BC Tree Fruits and Monson Fruit.
Hectre’s latest innovation is Spectre Top Down, which provides size data for thousands of apples straight off the back of flatbed trucks as they arrive at receiving.