By gathering and interpreting data provided from multispectral imaging satellites, flyovers by drones and AI-backed data analytics we are able to cover much more ground, in much more detail than ever before.
Traditional methods for manual mapping and monitoring are open to human error, and are time consuming, labour-intensive, and expensive. For example, with today’s technologies, we can reduce the time required for developing our replanting plans by 45% compared to conventional methods.. In addition, using this technology means our maps can go from sub-metre accuracy to millimetre level accuracy, and include additional details such as elevation, drains and terraces.
In the areas of our plantation where we have planted our new higher yielding seeds, GenomeSelectTM, we’re applying the most advanced geospatial technologies. Each one of the palms has its own GPS location and bar code associated with it. So, with regular imaging of these fields, we can measure the palm’s growth rate and forecast yield for the next year.
We have also generated our Palm Census and Vitality Index which accurately count the palms on our plantation land and monitors their health. It is this capacity for aerial imaging and machine learning that is key to enabling us to deliver the precision agriculture techniques that we use in our plantations.
Intelligent Seed System
Using RFID tagging, we mark and track the seeds from their origination when we collect the pollen and the subsequent pollination of the mother palms, into the labs, then the nurseries, and all the way to the fields in which they are planted - closing the loop between breeding trials and commercial performance.
For the higher yielding commercial seeds, we have conducted DNA analysis and quality assurance. We now have a mobile app to enable full traceability from seed to field. Through this, we can give confidence to our customers about the provenance of the seeds they have purchased, and the traits their palms will display when planted.
Our future research agenda is focused on developing important traits including climate resilience and disease tolerance. The significant investment we’ve made in data analytics will allow us to greatly accelerate what would be a slow research process in a slow-growing crop like palm oil, because it allows us to develop models of how our palms will perform in different future scenarios. As we have invested in emerging technologies, we have come to realise that we are only just scratching the surface of what’s possible to achieve in higher yielding seeds. There is huge potential ahead of us.