As news broke that Florida’s citrus industry ended this year’s growing season with its lowest production in eight decades, an unlikely union has formed between two University of Florida (UF) start-up companies to help reverse the trend.
By combining expertise in precision agriculture with leading-edge aerospace technology, the two companies – Agriculture Intelligence and Satlantis – that are housed in one of UF’s business incubators believe they can offer a powerful artificial intelligence-based tool to help the state’s growers more closely monitor their trees and manage problems faster.
The help could not come at a better time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report last month that estimated Florida growers will fill 44.7 million boxes of oranges, grapefruit and specialty crops during the 2021-2022 season, down more than 22 percent from the previous season and the lowest since the 1939-1940 season.
An accurate inventory of citrus groves and other specialty crops around the entire state is what Agriculture Intelligence and fellow Hub resident client Satlantis hope to make possible by joining forces. The relationship could create the opportunity to monitor inventory more frequently, perhaps even monthly.
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