Table grape yield prediction can now be done months in advance, more cheaply, with less samples and labour input than has been the case for centuries. This is thanks to the online and mobile platform of Sensonomic, developed in Norway and used in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
According to Adam Formica, head of research at Sensonomic, “Our platform makes predictions three to four months, one to two months, and a few weeks before harvest. Our users measure at different points in the growing season. We’re working with a top 10 exporter in Piura, Peru. Our platform is operational on 500 hectares, hopefully we are expanding to a few thousand hectares. They already entered over 13 000 data points this year. Just from the counts of bunches and berries. They are agronomists who are logging the data points.”
He explains that, on a Peruvian farm of 500 ha, the net savings from reduced sampling are $1 320, and scale with larger farm sizes. “These savings could extend to Sensonomic’s other two prediction phases.
*62% accurate with 35 samples per ha in Piura, Peru in 2022-23
*67% accurate with 64 samples per ha in the Coquimbo and Central Valley regions, Chile in 2018-19 and 2020-21. Let's assume one worker collects 300 samples per day. They can cover 9 ha per day with Sensonomic's sampling strategy compared to 5 ha per day with conventional sampling. To sample a 500 ha farm, it therefore takes 56 worker days with Sensonomic sampling versus 100 worker days with conventional sampling. With a daily wage of $30, sampling costs are $1 680 using our sampling compared to $3 000 using conventional sampling, resulting in savings of $1 320. Compared to conventional methods, Sensonomic achieved similar prediction accuracy one to two months before harvest with nearly half the sampling effort.”
They key to the yield prediction is to measure three key points in the season. “Shoots and bunch count, bunches and berries and then the weight, size and brix and acid ratio and so on. We use that to estimate the volume. It determines how many bunches and the volume that growers will ship, as well as determines the ideal timing of the harvest. We use the Brix to estimate harvest time while including the climate conditions, which can be forecast weeks to months ahead of time,” states Formica.
Sharing of information and transparency is key for them. “Our dashboard and analytics can be used by growers and shared with people downstream in the supply chain. It enables buyer’s to have real time information from the field as well as people who sell to growers including service providers, input suppliers, and companies supplying varieties that growers produce. We’re also trying to create a platform with incentives to share data. We are working with one of the top five table grape variety breeders who want growers to follow best practices and forecast revenues. There’s a win-win, if growers produces more and share the information, maybe the royalty can be reduced. It’s in their best interest to share some information.”
Their aim is to assist the entire value chain, while they are not exclusively focused on table grapes. “We don’t only work on grapes. In Europe, we are working on olives where we look at fat to dry matter. Our client is one of the first organic olive production centres in southern Spain. Our online platform is fully operational with basic, pro and enterprise levels. We are also working in Southern Italy, Puglia, doing a pilot with several table grape growers. We are hoping to expand to South Africa while we are hoping to get into Nashik in India too,” he concludes
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