Automation in Specialty Crops Part 2

Automation in Specialty Crops Part 2

September 14, 2020

Automation is Going Beyond Harvest

By Tim Hammerich, with the Ag Information Network

The Burro, is an autonomous robot that transports fruit from where it is picked to where it is packed. But Burro CEO Charlie Andersen sees this innovation going far beyond just helping with harvest. He sees it as a platform to bring automation onto specialty crop farms.

“The challenge with these industries is that each respective crop is relatively small from a market size perspective,” said Anderson.   “For that reason, I think that what you're going to have is companies that are focused on doing things like yields in blueberries, yields in table grapes, digital entomology in certain spaces. They're gonna be taking data off of platforms like ours, and then providing that data back to growers in a creative way. And we see our platform being something that enables them to do that,” said Andersen.

Andersen also sees the platform as an economical entry point which may lead to not only data, but potentially crop scouting and spot spraying.

“And so most of the customers that we are working with right now see this logical progression. They recognize that if we get autonomy into our operation, we might get like a 20 to 40% efficiency today, which is quite significant with labor going to 15 or 18 bucks an hour with when it's fully burdened. But beyond that, you have a vision based platform online that can over time be scaled up to do more things,” Andersen said.

Learn more about Burro on tomorrow’s episode of “The Business of Blueberries” Podcast which can be downloaded any podcast player.