Data : The potato is the fifth and most important food crop in the world after rice, wheat, corn, sugar cane in terms of human consumption. More than a billion people worldwide eat potato, and global total crop production exceeds 300 million metric tons.
Unfortunately the potato industry may be losing a mainstay in the battle against psyllids, according to a recent Texas A&M AgriLife Research study.
A group of Lincoln University researchers in New Zealand have seen promising results from a trial of using mesh cover to protect potato crops from insect pests.
Future Farming Centre head Dr Charles Merfield said the mesh was “incredibly effective. It kept 99 per cent of the psyllids out from under the mesh despite an infested plot of potatoes being just a couple of metres away, ” Charles Merfield, head of Future Farming Centre said. Merfield said if they had dug the mesh cover in there would have been no psyllids at all and it would have offered 100 per cent control. Fine mesh had the potential to control all potato insect pests and blight and increase yield, Merfield said.
WatchITgrow is a new geo-information platform developed for the potato sector in Belgium with the purpose to better estimate and increase the potato yield in a sustainable way.
With this web tool the Belgian potato growers and the potato traders and processors can quickly and in a user-friendly way access data and information on the growth of different potato varieties.
WatchITgrow is the first platform to combine several types of data. Through the combination of satellite and drone images, weather and soil data and yield prediction models, the potato sector can consult, via watchITgrow, in a quick and efficient way the correct information on one of multiple potato fields.
With these additional insights users can:
Access more and more accurate information on the state of the crop;
Better monitor the potato crop in function of growth, health status and development;
Map spacial variability within the field;
Guarantee and increase the yield;
Estimate the harvest date and yields during the season;
Reduce production and quality losses
Not only external data but also proprietary data from the potato industry (such as results from yield and quality assessments) can be centralised in this geo-information platform. This allows the users to check in an easy way for example which part of the production area gives the best yields or where a certain potato variety performs better or worse and what the possible causes may be.
The data and knowledge of the potato sector enabled the researchers to fine-tune and gradually improve the monitoring system. Thanks to the additional field data, the application will keep improving and become more accurate season after season.
This innovative instrument can form the basis of further applications within the field of precision agriculture, for example disease prevention and fertilization, but also the possibility to link to the field registration system of Vegaplan.
Crucial is the fact that the potato grower – potentially in agreement with his customers – remains himself the owner of his data.
Access to WatchITgrow is restricted. Belgian companies can access the geo-information platform at http://www.watchitgrow.be
If data information can use to benefit for human health, how big is the Data business to gain economic power from data informations which affects many sectors?