Farmers turn to artificial intelligence to grow better crops

By Matt McFarlandWASHINGTON (CNNMoney) — Your grocery store’s tomatoes may have a new friend aiding their development: artificial intelligence.NatureSweet, which grows tomatoes on six farms in the United States and Mexico, is using artificial intelligence to better control pests and diseases in its greenhouses. The technology, developed by the Israeli digital farming company Prospera, has already improved harvests and reduced labor costs. NatureSweet began testing the technology almost a year ago at one of its farms in Arizona. It plans to roll the tech out to all of its locations soon. Adrian Almeida, chief innovation officer at NatureSweet, believes artificial intelligence will eventually improve his greenhouses tomato yields by 20%. “It’ll be better for the environment and for the customer,” Almeida said. Farms are increasingly using technology to grow crops, from task-tracking systems that monitor watering and seeding to drones used to capture aerial images. So far, NatureSweet’s weekly harvests have grown 2 to 4%. This may seem modest, but the results makes a big difference when growing millions of pounds of tomatoes a year. To use the method, NatureSweet installed 10 cameras in greenhouse ceilings. The cameras continuously take photos of the crops below. Prospera’s software has been trained…


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