Artificial Intelligence: Israeli AI Technology Helps Precision Irrigate Avocados In South Africa

February 3, 2021 | Artificial Intelligence, News

There’s now a smarter way to irrigate and produce more avocados for farmers.

SupPlant, an Israeli-based company uses IoT, but in agriculture. Over the last four years, it has developed an AI-based system for autonomous irrigation that saves water and improves crop yields. Farmers of avocados in South Africa are now using this technology to their advantage. (THE SOUTH AFRICAN)

Avocados and AI

Demand for avocados has spiraled across the globe. According to the WEF, avocado consumption in the US has more than doubled in only 10 years. This runaway jump in the demand for the fruit has created a climate change effect in the countries where it is produced, such as Mexico and South Africa.

Forest lands are being cleared away to make way for avocado plantations. Besides, avocados require large amounts of water. In Mexico, the massive extraction of water for avocado cultivation – the everyday equivalent of 3,800 Olympic pools – is taking a huge toll on the country’s Michoacán aquifers.

One hectare of avocado with 156 trees consumes 1.6 times more than a forest with 677 trees per hectare, says the WEF.

However, SupPlant’s technology automates and optimizes avocado irrigation, ensuring healthy and robust harvests with minimal water usage.

How it works

SupPlant’s system is an amalgam of sensory hardware, agronomic algorithms and AI, big data, and cloud technology. The company’s data model is based on predictive algorithms that analyze 100M avocado data points.

IoT sensors are placed in and around the plant including deep soil, shallow soil, stem/trunk, leaf, and the avocado fruit itself.

The purpose of these sensors is to monitor, in real-time, the plant’s condition and growth. The system can assess the actual plant growth against the theoretical and predicted growth patterns.

These sensors also relay data on the water content in the soil and the plant.

For overall control, the system also takes into account data relating to weather forecasts and the actual weather conditions prevailing at the time of measurement.

The data is transmitted to the cloud and then sent to the farmer’s smartphone. The farmer can, therefore, take appropriate action immediately.

Water savings and better yield

SupPlant calls this GBI, or Growth-Based Irrigation.


“It is a unique closed-loop irrigation system, fully autonomous and reactive to plants needs in real-time. Already commercial in 14 of the world’s largest markets, it is showing constant results of 30% water savings and above 5% increase in yields on average, in a wide range of crops.”

Related Story:   Machine Learning To Help in High-Throughput Germination Analysis

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