The numbers are simply astounding. According to a report published at the end of last year by the Environmental Protection Ministry and Leket Israel, the leading food rescue organization in Israel, in 2020 nearly 2.5 million tons of food waste was thrown away in Israel, amounting to NIS 19.1 billion ($6 billion). The total loss represents about 35% of the total food production in Israel, of which, approximately 1.1 million tons is rescuable, valued at about NIS 6.4 billion ($1.9 billion).
The original impetus for the establishment of Israeli agricultural intelligence company Taranis was weather prediction. Namely, could weather predictions help farmers better manage their fields (when to take different actions or not). The company shifted focus as they developed an innovative pod that could take ultra hi-resolution images from a plane of fields with amazing detail.
“There is so much potential yield in fields around the world that is being lost due to different threats and field management issues,” Ido Peled, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Taranis, told CTech in an interview. “Taranis was established to mitigate those losses.”
Founded in 2015, Taranis operates fleets of drones and low-flying aerial vehicles capable of capturing ultra-high-resolution imagery mid-flight. Taranis’ artificial intelligence system analyzes these images and aggregates this data as well as data from satellite images to detect early signs of crop diseases, insect infestations, nutrient deficiencies, and other crop risk factors. Taranis’ system can cover an area of 400 dunams (400,000 square meters) in less than 20 minutes, according to the company.
“For example,” Peled said, “if you planted say 30,000 seeds per acre and a couple weeks later you started to see the plants themselves, but how many could you actually spot with your naked eye? That’s where our technology comes in. Even early on in our development we could help farmers know if that planting was successful or not and if they should re-plant or not, if they should invest in certain areas of the field, etc.
“In agriculture, timing is everything and you must be precise,” Peled said. “A week later in the season might be too late to re-plant and a week early is too early to start the actual counting. So, predicting and using different models to arrive at the right time and having the ability to start to count the entire field accurately using our technology is a big part of our company’s core advantage over our competitors.
“We are not trying to replace the farmers or their traditional field management methods,” Peled stressed. “We are here to complement what they do.” Peled said that Taranis currently focuses its efforts on assisting sugarcane growing in Brazil and in the midwestern US, where they specialize in open field core crops: corn, soybeans and cotton.
“Regarding food waste, there are two global trends that are occurring simultaneously which we must take into account,” Peled said. “First, the world’s population is only growing exponentially, which means you have more people to feed. At the same time, available farming land is decreasing in size due to urbanization. So, you must maximize your yield with your available farmland. So the big question and concern is will we be able to provide sufficient food (crops) to feed humans and animals.”
According to Peled, up to 40% of a field is lost yield due to any number of circumstances (pests, weather conditions, etc.), and Tranis seeks to increase the available yield. “We focus on the top line, not the bottom line,” Peled said. “We look at how the existing field can be more productive. We do this using artificial intelligence. AI is disrupting agriculture, which is a four trillion dollar industry. In order to know how we can increase the yield of the existing fields, we use AI and we have a better understanding of what needs to be done.”
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Taranis is the world’s leading AI-powered crop intelligence platform 100% focused on helping retailers demonstrate value for their customers and build better relationships through full-service, leaf-level data capture that allows them to accelerate decision making, simplify management, and improve the bottom line. Since starting in 2015, Taranis has worked with the world’s top agricultural retailers and crop protection companies, monitoring millions of acres for customers in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Australia. Taranis has offices located in Westfield, Indiana, Tel Aviv, Israel, and Campinas, Brazil. To learn more visit http://taranisagdev.wpengine.com.
Chief Product and Marketing Officer