AI that can predict a crops shipment window three times earlier than previously possible has been developed by Agrimetrics, one of four Agritech centres backed by the UK Gov and Microsoft and one of 58 core partners of EIT Food, Europe’s leading food innovation initiative.
The first proof-of-concept promises to save one leading farming business >£6m p/a, equivalent to 15% increase in gross profit.
Overseas crops are grown to a specified shipment window, providing retailers with a constant supply of fresh produce; if windows are missed, growers are generally responsible for making up the shortfall. Purchasing produce from a third-party supplier or airfreight are the most common ways to do this, but both are expensive. Costs for one of the UK’s leading food and farming business run to £120k per week – just for sweetcorn.
These costs can be reduced substantially if a grower knows in good time that a shipment will be missed. The more time the grower has to source and negotiate alternatives, the lower the cost will be.
“This was the catalyst for creating our Harvest Timing Prediction AI,” explains Anna Woodley, Head of Sales at Agrimetrics. “We realised that increasing the notice period by even a couple of weeks would result in huge savings. To put this in perspective, one customer estimates savings of more than £6m per year. That’s equivalent to a 15% increase in gross profit.
Agrimetrics are currently predicting the correct shipment window for sweetcorn crops with up to 93% accuracy, which can be done 4 weeks in advance. They claim that accuracy and timeframes can be increased given access to more data.
“Given the right data, we can improve the accuracy and widen the applications of our AI to cover more fields, more supply chains, more crops,” concluded Anna.