Researchers and Northern Territory mango growers are combining high-resolution satellite imagery with data from hand-held fruit-scanning guns to better map variations in tree health, crop yield and fruit maturity. If successful, the results could help growers more easily determine optimum picking times, and ensure the most efficient use of labour.
Hort Innovation chief executive officer John Lloyd said the application of the near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) gun – which measures fruit dry matter content, and therefore maturity – with satellite imagery is an exciting prospect. Mr Lloyd said crop monitoring tools such as the NIRS gun and satellite technology are evolving rapidly. As such, this trial provides aunique opportunity to not only integrate these technologies for more comprehensive results, but also ensure the Australian mango industry ‘keeps up with the Jones’s’ in terms of evaluating and adopting new technologies. “There’s a huge potential for efficiencies through this research. Growers could save time and money by easily directing pickers to the most mature, highest-yielding areas of their farms just by looking at a map,” he said. “The potential is also there to more accurately predict yields weeks before harvest to help guide marketing decisions and address any weak spots in crops prior to the season kicking off.”
Satellites and guns to help supercharge the nation's mango harvest