Many plants and trees rely on natural phenomena like bees and wind to be pollinated and produce fruit. However, bee colony collapse and climate change threaten the ability of these crops to be pollinated. An Israeli ag-tech start-up called Edete Precision Technologies addresses this mounting concern using robots and artificial pollination technology.
This week, the company announced in a press release sent to The Spoon that it has successfully used its robot pollinators to increase yields in pistachio orchards by 24 percent.
The start-up’s robot is called the 2BeTM pollinator, and it disperses a precise amount of pollen into flowers during the pistachio tree blooming season. Normally, pistachio trees are naturally pollinated by the wind blowing pollen (male sperm) into the female ovule. However, climate change may be contributing to the desynchronization of male and female trees blossoming, which results in lower crop yields.
For pistachio farmers, this 24 percent increase in yields equates to an additional $1,850 in income per acre.
The last time The Spoon wrote about Edete, the company was addressing the problem of bee colony collapse and the role this plays in the crops that depend on this. In Australia and California, Edete uses its technology to artificially pollinate almond trees.
Robots and automation are becoming more prevalent in agriculture. Tevel, another Israel-based ag-tech company, developed flying robots for harvesting fruit. Farmwise, Small Robot Company, and Greenfield Robotics all have different variations of autonomous weed-picking robots.
Edete completed its pilot run of artificially pollinated pistachio trees in Sacramento, California on an 82-acre orchard. Now, the company is gearing up to offer its pollination technology to other growers in California for when the pistachio blooming season starts in April 2022.
You can see how Edete’s robotic pollination works in the video below: