UF AI Center To Push Boundaries of Ag Research (Fruit Grower News)

UF AI Center To Push Boundaries of Ag Research

The scientist called the grower with a proposition: Let me fly a drone over your grove and you’ll be able to see how many trees you have, and even the size of individual canopies.

Alex Gardinier, director of business development for Gardinier Florida Citrus, accepted. He recalls that when he received such easy-to-read metrics and maps from the flight data, he saw something else – the future.

It’s a future fueled by artificial intelligence. Dr. Yiannis Ampatzidis is among those at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) that’s putting AI to use on Florida farms today, in this case by synthesizing millions of images into instantly actionable information.

AI will create a fourth agricultural revolution, achieving huge gains in farm productivity the way the introduction of tractors, synthetic fertilizers and genetics did in previous eras. The speed and success of that revolution depends on how well land-grant university innovators like Ampatzidis, of the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, work with South Florida growers like Gardinier.

The groundwork for the revolution has been laid by more than a century of UF/IFAS establishing credibility through its citrus science. Working with a UF/IFAS faculty member comes with assurance that growers’ data will be protected. Gardinier took up Ampatzidis on his offer because he trusts him and trusts his land-grant university.

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