The transition to a high tech-driven, circular agriculture is the key target of this research project. The project will deliver new sensor applications and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools that will realize a productivity boost via a data-driven potato production system within the framework of circular agriculture. In a promising international partnership, we will bring together plant science and novel sensor technology with AI and robotics to optimize the potato chain. The results of applied use cases will be disseminated with a wide/ global audience to convince breeders, farmers and processing companies how they can benefit from these high-tech developments, boosting sustainability and food security.
The need to deal with labour shortages, sustainability requirements and climate change is a problem for farmers in the Netherlands and elsewhere, but certainly in Japan. To boost productivity and lower costs, farmers can increase yield, introduce precise crop management, and lower labour costs. In this project, we will offer technology based solutions for these issues. Yield is expected to increase by selecting more suitable and robust/resilient crops. These crops will be analysed with ultra-new sensors on precision agricultural labour-free, autonomous devices. Using AI on the collected data will result in improved crop management and thereby reduce use of chemicals.
The focus of the project lies on digitization of the production process of potatoes with multiple sensors, fusing the data collected with autonomous vehicles & drones in cooperation with the National Agricultural Research Organization of Japan, WUR and Kubota. With FAIR based well-structured data management systems well open the floor for advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools. We will work on improved variety screening technologies, accurate potato yield prediction, improved crop care, development of a potato data passport and the improved quality of stored potatoes. Recently the coordinator Kubota, a leading Japanese farm equipment manufacturer, has opened an R&D office at the WUR campus to bring together academic knowledge with practical experiences. High tech sensors and knowledge from IMEC will strengthen this PPP via the OnePlanet initiative, in which WUR and IMEC are teaming up to connect the novel photonic sensor from the high tech domain with agrifood applications. This broad Japanese-Dutch consortium has as well the knowledge as the technology as the connection to the farmers to make this data-driven transition. Its a good example of an international PPP, where technology and chain assurance are essential to change and optimisation using novel tools to link the entire potato production chain.