App offered as add-on to existing farm management systems

An image analysis service offers a smartphone app that identifies plant diseases, pests and weeds.

“We are not a farm management system, we are a value-add, bolt-on to farm management systems,” said Craig Ganssle, founder and chief executive officer of Farmwave.

“We do image analysis from disease and pest identification, diagnosis, severity rating, and we even do some yield prediction models.”

The app uses machine learning to diagnose issues, and is based on a curated collection of images.

“We have our own data set we have been building for six years. It’s not using image net, it’s not crowd sourced. Absolutely every image in our data set has been validated by a PhD-level subject matter expert,” Ganssle said.

The Farmwave app uses a smartphone’s camera, but it can also use images sourced from remote-sensing platforms.

“One question we get asked a lot, can we do this with satellites, can we do this with drones? Absolutely, to us it doesn’t matter how we get the image,” Ganssle said.

He said the company is in discussion with machinery manufacturers to incorporate their image analysis technology into sprayers, which will enable sprayers to automatically detect and spray areas with problems.

The Farmwave app can also help growers with yield estimates for some crops.

“We do things like counting kernels on your corn in a matter of seconds with 90 percent accuracy, stand counts, cluster counts, things like wind grape clusters, tomatoes, or specialty crops, fruit and veg,” Ganssle said.

The latest feature added to Farmwave is a harvest loss analysis for corn and soybeans, where a grower can take a picture of the ground behind a combine and it will estimate the amount of grain being thrown over.

He said the company is working with machinery manufacturers to incorporate this feature in combines to help drive automatic combine settings.

There is a free model of the app for growers to try out. The paid version cost US$300 each year.

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