Aug 17, 2016
Idaho university developing yield estimation system

Northwest Nazarene University’s Department of Engineering received a $90,400 grant from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) to develop Fruit Count App (FCA), a fruit crop yield estimation system. This is the third ISDA specialty crop grant awarded to the engineering department within the last three years.

As stated in the FCA proposal for the grant, “accurate fruit yield estimate will impact growers’ decisions about orchard management like planning thinning and harvesting operation, as well as managing packing shed logistics. In addition, fruit crop yield estimates could help the farmer discuss supply capacity with buyers, which could affect selling price by as much as 15 percent.”

Led by mechanical engineering professors Duke Bulanon and John Stutz, an NNU engineering team will develop a vision system to capture images of fruit trees and a computer program that will estimate fruit yield from the image. The FCA will be composed of a certain combination of a color camera, multispectral camera, and stereo camera and is designed to be mounted on a tractor or an autonomous vehicle.

This year ISDA’s specialty crop block grant program has awarded $1.9 million to 15 specialty crop projects – the Fruit Count App included. The grants are paid by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the Farm Bill.

NNU’s Department of Engineering has two other ongoing ISDA specialty crop grant projects: orchard-monitoring drones and IdaBOT. ISDA awarded an NNU engineering team a $70,000 grant to develop orchard-monitoring drones in 2014 and in 2015 an $81,000 grant to develop the IdaBOT, an autonomous robot that can perform time-intensive farm tasks.

Current Issue

Fruit Growers News September 2022 issue cover

Apple association forecasts higher U.S. production in 2022-23

Jenschke Orchards braves Texas-sized heat, drought

SWD-killing wasps released in Michigan to protect fruit

High-altitude pears: IFTA tour spotlights Washington pears

Cold tolerance is hot topic at Michigan Viticulture Field Day

Ridgefest updates industry on Michigan apple, cherry research

Cal Poly strawberry research: Can robots kill pests?

Great Lakes EXPO sessions to look at how to effectively plan farm succession and the benefits of Farm to School

Farm Market column: Fine Tuning Your Market Performance

Ag Labor Review: Small-town virtues, from the ballpark to the classroom


see all current issue »

Be sure to check out our other specialty agriculture brands

produceprocessingsm Organic Grower