AI Accelerates Tomato Research Faster, Provides More Data to Growers

Innovation Impact
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Tomato research at Syngenta Vegetable Seeds is now powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to capture more data, more accurately, and with more information available now than ever before. The state-of-the-art TomatoVision greenhouse in Maasland, the Netherlands, is trialing impactful technologies in agricultural AI, including the AI solutions of Source.ag.

"We use AI technologies to understand what information we can collect concerning our new varieties. This is even more important now that more and more growers are considering using AI driven systems in their operations,” said Arthur van Marrewijk, Syngenta Vegetable Seeds Active Greenhouse Technical Manager. “On the research side, we want to compare the data point we already collect today and see what key datapoints we can optimize to feed into grower AI systems as well as our breeding programs.

“Ultimately, we have a shared vision with Source.ag to provide grower with the most up-to-date resources they can reference, using data to power AI systems thus giving growers more information and increasing the potential for new and existing varieties.”

By collaborating with market leaders in AI technology, Syngenta Vegetables Seeds researchers can advance tomato innovations faster and provide more data to growers when new varieties are introduced. All in all, this means the right tomatoes would get to growers faster, and growers would have more data to make decisions on new products.

How AI technologies speed up research

Data collection and organization are important to maximize efficiency and accuracy. That’s where AI could come in, and why Syngenta is putting it to the test.  

“We’re using the information we collect to create plans based on that data,” said Mark Versluis, Syngenta Product Development Specialist. “For example, we can use climate and environment data to position the new products in areas they’ll be best suited. Or we can use that same information to give growers guidance to help optimize production backed by accessible, documented data from trials.

“We also use the yield data to continue assisting with supply planning – especially for products like our ToBRFV-resistant tomatoes that are likely to be in higher demand,” he continued.

Data drives the decisions by Syngenta researchers, meaning every tomato that comes to market is backed by years of data that prove it’s better than previous varieties and it’s better than the others tested at the same time. Additionally, greater understanding of crop environments and their role in yield and productivity means growers can pick the tomato that performs best for their unique situation.

“Syngenta and Source.ag began collaborating approximately a year ago,” said Cedric Canovas, Vice President of Data Science and Plant Science at Source.ag. “We share a common vision when it comes to maximizing growers' success in their cultivation efforts. As a result, right from the beginning, we engaged in productive discussions on how to effectively collaborate. We bring distinct perspectives on tomato varieties' behavior, which complement each other.”

In recent trials, Syngenta has been able to test various products in different locations and under varying conditions while still providing consistent and accurate data. They’re doing this more efficiently with the help of AI data collection. So, whether new varieties are tested in Syngenta-controlled greenhouses or in grower operations, the data is collected uniformly, and now faster with AI.

The possibilities for AI in research are vast. Picking the varieties that give growers attributes they need, faster, and with data-backed guidance on placement and environment are just the first steps. As data becomes more organized and easily available, Syngenta could share more information about what researchers see in trials, giving growers more information to make the right seed decision each year.

Learn more about robotics and other advancements in tomato research here www.syngentavegetables.com/TomatoVision.  

About Syngenta Vegetable Seeds: Syngenta Crop Protection and Syngenta Seeds are part of Syngenta Group, one of the world’s leading agriculture companies. Our ambition is to help safely feed the world while taking care of the planet. We aim to improve the sustainability, quality, and safety of agriculture with world class science and innovative crop solutions. Our technologies enable millions of farmers around the world to make better use of limited agricultural resources.  

 About Source.ag: Source.ag is accelerating access to fresh fruit and vegetables by empowering the world’s growers with AI. Founded in 2020 by Rien Kamman (CEO) and Ernst van Bruggen (CPO), Source.ag has brought together a team of experienced engineers and plant scientists and has partnered with the world’s leading growers to build the sector’s most advanced AI. Its AI solutions have the capability to simulate plant behavior for defining and implementing optimal cultivation strategies, taking into account millions of data points on climate, biology, and resources. By enabling more growers to operate more facilities more efficiently through pioneering tech, Source.ag is making covered greenhouse agriculture accessible, profitable and globally scalable. Together, we’re on a mission to feed the world, in a climate resilient and resource efficient way.

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