A precision farming system called “Field Practice Solutions (FPS)” was developed for sugarcane production industry. FPS employs drone-based imagery for measuring plantation area, crop heath monitoring and weed/disease detection. The system also applies data processing to help users make informed decision and manage plantation effectively such as the fertilizer/chemicals application and harvest schedules.

FPS was developed through a public-private partnership scheme, with researchers and innovators from Khon Kaen University, HG Robotics Company Limited and Global Crops Company Limited. The project was partial funded by PMU-C (Program Management Unit for Competitiveness) and managed by NSTDA.

Project leader Assoc. Prof. Dr. Khwantri Saengprachatanarug of Khon Kaen University explained that the team developed a data analytic system using drone-based multispectral images combined with weather and sugarcane physiological information to predict Brix content in sugarcane fields. With brix and yield prediction data, crops can be harvested at the right time for maximum yield on the lowest cost.

With FPS, harvest schedule can be effectively planned to ensure optimal quality and quantity of sugarcane supplied to sugar mills. This solution has a potential to reduce sugar production cost by 20%, or an annual cost saving of THB 50 million per sugar mill.

According to HG Robotics CEO Dr. Mahisorn Wongphati, FPS will also include modules to manage agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides and employ big data technologies to enable data-driven decision making. Several sugar mills have expressed strong interest in FPS, indicating its commercial viability.