Big data crop watch to become the latest farmers’ tool
Canadian grain farmers could soon reap benefits from a new big data-driven crop monitoring innovation.
SFU graduate student Gurman Thind’s analytical software can process thousands of satellite images quickly and with intricate detail. Thind is hopeful that interpreting critical information on crop health and environmental conditions can lead to improved harvest forecasting and more sustainable farming.
His company, Beriqo Inc., aims to launch its new software in spring 2019.
“Our system has a big data structure that can process a wealth of satellite imagery almost instantly, while collecting weather data from thousands of land-based stations in the U.S., Canada and Brazil,” he explains. The rendered image data together with rainfall and growing degree days (GDD) data can all be seen on a single platform with an embedded GPS.
“Our technology is designed to support sustainable agriculture practices,” says Thind. “The data we can provide will help farmers with irrigation scheduling, thus saving water, a precious natural resource.
“Our innovative platform also provides farmers with a decision analytic toolbox, assisting them to disperse chemicals effectively to the right field areas—reducing excessive fertilization and greenhouse gas. This also helps to conserve water as farmers would have up to date analytics of the water content in their fields.”
Thind started the Surrey-based company three years ago, working with SFU engineering professor Faisal Beg, who provided support and expertise in image processing. The company is a client of SFU’s Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection, which provided mentorship in building their business model, office space and a positive startup community.
“Gurman is a creative engineer and problem solver,” says Beg. “He identifies problems, brainstorms on solutions, finds resources, and learns what is needed, and implements solutions efficiently. With this venture, he is poised to make a difference in the world of precision agriculture.”