Robot-powered plant science helps grape growers predict yields, detect pest threats

| | October 30, 2019
Screen Shot at AM
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

For grape growers, accurately predicting each season’s yield is key to a successful harvest. Underpredict, and you won’t have enough labor on hand or you’ll run out of storage space; overpredict, and you could fall through on promises to your distributors.

Two Cornell researchers are tackling the age-old problem using 21st century tools: inexpensive, touch-sensitive soft robots that can help growers predict yield and detect fungal threats.

Justine Vanden Heuvel, associate professor of horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), researches strategies to help grape growers improve their environmental and economic sustainability. Kirstin Petersen, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, studies bio-inspired and soft robotics.

Related article:  Want a more sustainable food system? Convince young westerners to eat insects

[W]ith their combined expertise in plant growth and machine learning, the researchers realized that they could predict yield very early in the season, when the flower clusters first emerge.

“There’s a specific cohesion about how the leaves grow and where the clusters appear,” Petersen said. “Before berries even form, we can go out and do this with something as simple as a smartphone and a flashlight, which is incredible.”

Read full, original article: Digital agriculture workshop highlights radical collaborations

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
a a b b a f ac a

Video: Death by COVID: The projected grim toll in historical context

The latest statistics, as of July 10, show COVID-19-related deaths in U.S. are just under 1,000 per day nationally, which is ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
types of oak trees

Infographic: Power of evolution? How oak trees came to dominate North American forests

Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend