At the end of 2019, AgriData Innovations (ADI) visited Beekenkamp to discuss the possibilities of drones for data collection. At the time, they were still called Applied Drone Innovations and focused on drone solutions. When ADI saw Beekenkamp employees performing germination counts with a clipboard, ADI realized that this could be done better and faster. The idea arose to digitize germination counts using cameras and software. This ultimately led to the realization of the GA box (Germination Analysis Box).
From the very beginning, Beekenkamp has shared the vision and has been willing to invest in this innovation. As Wilke Goeman, Production Cultivation Manager at Beekenkamp points out:
"The manual germination counts we used to do were error-prone, unstructured, and outdated. ADI suggested digitizing the germination counts to make data-driven decisions based on reliable, standardized counts."
After almost two years of development, a system has now been developed that determines the germination percentage and usable percentage of the tray in a matter of seconds. In addition, the great advantage is that the digitized counts are consistent and standardized so that human errors and subjectivity are a thing of the past. Different counters arrive at different counts for the same tray. Finally, all counts with the photos are automatically saved in the web app, making the information easy to find, and it can be used to optimize the production process and for feedback to suppliers.
"The GA box ensures that we perform germination counts considerably faster, have consistent counts, and enable us to gain better insight in advance into the number of plants that can be sold," says Wilke Goeman van Beekenkamp. The labor savings, better counting, and automatic data storage ensure that the GA box pays for itself within two years.
The GA box is ready to add value to more parties and to make data-driven choices using ADI's technology. "Camera systems and computer vision software are now actively used in crop management to become more data-driven. Our goal is to make labor-intensive work easier, more reliable, and more objective. At Beekenkamp, we collect data on germination counts, structure the data, and present actionable insights. This technology is of great value to propagators, breeders, and seed specialists." said William Simmonds, CEO of AgriData Innovations
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