AgriSound are changing the way we monitor insect biodiversity. The company has developed low-cost sensors to detect pollinator levels and relays information back to a simple web app that highlights areas of pollinator abundance and/or deficits. With this information, farmers/growers can better target appropriate solutions e.g., planting wildflowers or creating new habitats to meet farm biodiversity goals.
Pollination is one of the most important natural biological processes on our planet and an integral part of fruit production. Although 70% of fruit crops are dependent on insect pollination, the process is still poorly understood and not maximised for commercial output. Pollinators are declining globally due to factors threatening biodiversity, threatening the $500B of economic services they provide to the global economy.
AgriSound’s POLY flower is a novel approach to pollinator monitoring that automatically detects, counts, and distinguishes key functional groups of insects using acoustic detection methods, building on AgriSound’s expertise in beehive monitoring technologies.
Research indicates that the POLY flower is the first acoustic-based system designed for by commercial fruit growers to provide much-needed information on pollination dynamics. For farmers and growers, monitoring insect biodiversity is crucial for demonstrating the impact of planting hedgerows or wildflower areas and will become even more so with the changes to farm payment systems.
A better understanding of pollinator abundance and visitation gives farmers vital information to support the transition to nature-based strategies for productive and sustainable farming.
Increasing pollination levels can:
- Directly improve crop yields (£12K-15K per hectare of apples; Garrett et al. 2014)
- Directly improve fruit quality (size, weight, firmness, nutritional composition)
- Increase % crop achieving Class 1 (£6.5K per hectare; Garrett et al., 2014).
With better quality pollination, less fruit is rejected and wasted. Fruit and juice waste in the US contributes >10MMT CO2e/year (Venkat, 2011), of which part can be offset by increasing the quality of fruit produce. In addition, precision pollination can offset the need for fertilisers and other farm inputs to maximise yield and reduce waste to maintain production at a certain level.
Founded in 2020, AgriSound are a UK based start-up on a mission to create the world’s largest database on insect biodiversity that can support strategies to enhance (or reduce) insect levels, map impacts of agrochemicals and support national governments with data-led policymaking.
AgriSound believe by using technology, we can understand subtle changes affecting pollination and suggest appropriate actions to maintain an optimal pollination environment.
The AgriSound team of scientists and engineers are developing new ways of better monitoring pollinator health. Using a unique mix of sound, environmental, vision and emerging technology sensors to record insect activity and transmit to the internet for analysis.
The company has a core offering of hardware (sensor platforms and internet gateway) and software (user interface and cloud-based predictive algorithms) for remote beehive and wild pollinator monitoring. With completion of the project expected in July, the company is getting ready to roll the new POLY device out to early adopters from the horticultural and arable sectors.