30. August 2021

Escarda Technologies: Artificial Intelligence in the Greenhouse

Escarda Technologies develops smart concepts for pesticide-free agriculture. An algorithm evaluates huge amounts of data on pest and weed infestation. A solution for intensively managed greenhouses is being developed in a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

The project aims to keep pesticide use in greenhouses to a minimum. To do this, farmers need detailed information on insect infestation and/or the risk of fungal diseases.

For this reason, colored glue boards are always hanging in greenhouses to attract pests such as whitefly or ichneumon flies. But only trained personnel can tell from the insects on the boards what the current pest infestation in the greenhouse is and whether a response is needed. Climate data such as temperature or humidity help predict fungal infestations. These controls cost a lot of time and are difficult to implement in times of a shortage of skilled workers.

Another challenge arises especially in the cultivation of ornamental plants in greenhouses: Unlike in vegetable cultivation, the plant pots are often moved or regrouped. This makes it difficult to assign the results of the glue boards or climate data to specific plants.

This is where Escarda comes in. Together with partners, the team wants to develop a monitoring system that can quickly record and evaluate both pest infestation and climate in the greenhouse.

For the problem with the “wandering” pots, the startup devised a solution that is as simple as it is effective: The recording devices wander with them! For this purpose, glue boards and climate sensor technology are arranged in a plastic pot. Image and climate data, together with information on the location of the pot, are collected in a central computer. There, the Escarda algorithm evaluates them. As a learning system, the software must be extensively fed with information about possible insect pests in order to make statements that are as precise as possible. The team has christened its development “checkpots.”

This makes smart, ecologically and economically optimized crop protection possible, even for intensive crops.

The German Federal Ministry of Agriculture is funding the project.

The project team, together with Escarda, is made up of:

We wish the team every success!

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