US Company Farmwave has created AI based software that monitors harvest loss autonomously without stopping, showing farmers where it’s coming from on the machine.
The AI technology uses Luxonis-cameras, mounted on the header and on the rear of the combine, that take a picture every 3 seconds. ”From the header, it is seeing down on the ground, and is seeing the cornels that are dropped”, Jordyn Bush, Business Development Lead at Farmwave explains. “At the rear of the combine, it is looking at what’s falling off the back. So, that’s how the system can differentiate between header loss and rear loss.”
“The system is letting the user in the cab know what his losses are, and where it is coming from”, Ms Bush points out. “That’s when the operator can make some adjustments to mitigate the loss. And the operator will know within 3 to 6 seconds if that change that he made, works. Because the screen is updating so quickly, operators don’t have to get out, look at the ground, and make an adjustment several times. Farmwave just streamlines that whole process.”
The system can also work offline, and will auto-upload the data once connected. The technology will work with any make and model combine, the company says. It is self-sustaining and completely independent. Farmwave-data can be exported (into JSON format) to use almost anywhere. Farmwave says the system can reduce harvest loss by 3 to 8 or more bushels per acre. During early adopter trials in 2020, the average 2,000 acre farm saw a return greater than US $ 75,000 in a single season.
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Usually, farmers are able to mitigate most of their losses during harvest, using Farmwave. “But operators have to be willing to make the changes”, Ms Bush says. “If the change that needs to be made, is to slow down, and there is rain coming, the operator might have to decide not to mitigate all the losses. To get it in before the rain.”
The technology is currently being used in the harvest of corn, soybeans and cotton
According to Farmwave, farmers can install the system themselves. Ms Bush: “It is super-easy to install. The cameras mount with magnets. And then the cable just follows an existing line from the camera to the cab, and can be attached with zip-ties. And the user can choose where he wants to mount the screen in the cab. It probably takes one hour to 90 minutes.”
The technology is currently being used in the harvest of corn, soybeans and cotton. “We are now also collecting data for wheat, and other small grains, some edible beans and peanuts”, Ms Bush says. “At the end of this year, we will probably have a preliminary small grains model.”
The company from Georgia can send its system to any country. Currently, the Farmwave technology is being used by farmers in the US, Canada, Argentina and Brazil. “We are also in conversation with a few Australian importers and have some contacts in Europe as well”, Ms Bush says.
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De price of a Farmwave single camera kit is US $ 16,000. This works best for measuring on the rear of machine. A 2-camera header kit – best for measuring header loss – costs US $ 18,000. The price of a full combine kit is US $ 20,000.
We really feel strongly about helping farmers
Farmwave has no intention of selling the company. “A lot of people ask us if someone will buy us out one day”, Ms Bush says. “But that is really not our goal. We are not a tech startup that just makes a product, and sells it to a big company to make a bunch of money. We really feel strongly about helping farmers, and especially the next generation of farmers that’s coming along…”