As the third most important global food crop, potatoes are grown for many different markets. It is fundamental for farmers to know when to halt crop growth to achieve optimal tuber size for market and so maximize profits. Until now, standard practice has been to grade a sample of tubers through multiple sieves, counting the number within size ranges, which is time consuming and expensive.
Enter PotatoSize™, a new mobile app developed by the James Hutton Institute and Agrovista, which seeks to provide a cheap and rapid solution for farmers to count and measure a crop sample by using cutting-edge image analysis techniques.
The app’s all-in-one system allows users to prepare a sample, take a photograph and send it for analysis along with details such as crop row width and sample weight. The image is analyzed, with potatoes identified and measured, and the user gets an estimate of potato size distribution in about two minutes, with greatly reduced cost and effort.
Dr Matt Aitkenhead, soil scientist at the James Hutton Institute and part of the PotatoSize™ development team, said: “The project required significant innovation and the integration of novel research, together with a robust app/database integration. Each use of the service to analyse a crop sample is worth savings of approximately £14 in labour and equipment for farmers.”
The app is currently available for iOS and is compatible with iPhone and iPad, and can be downloaded for free from the App Store. An Android version is planned for early 2017.
Photo courtesy of The James Hutton Institute