New project plans to predict vining pea yields by harvest 2024

Harvesting vining peas at the correct maturity to maximise yield can be a logistical nightmare for growers and processors, but thanks to a new project which plans to predict vining pea yields this could be about to change.

The PeaSat project will use satellite imagery to develop a vining pea yield-predicting algorithm which it is hoped will be available to growers ahead of harvest 2024.

This should help growers and processors co-ordinate the harvest period, resulting in improved efficiency and a reduced risk of crop abandonment as currently, there is no method to accurately forecast vining pea yields.

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The project

In collaboration with independent crop consultant Adas and pea grower co-operative HMC Peas, the project builds on previous research which uncovered strong correlations between vining pea flowering and final yield.

With satellite imagery found to be the most efficient way of measuring these correlations, remote sensing specialists at Adas will examine if satellite data taken at flowering could be used to accurately predict final pea yield.

Ben Hockridge, principal remote sensing consultant with Adas and project lead, says the project has huge potential to streamline processing and make vining pea harvest easier to plan and predict.

“By creating an algorithm using satellite imagery, we can provide real-time, up-to-date information for everyone involved, no matter where they are in the process.”

Industry thoughts

HMC Peas, which has had yield mapping viners since 2017, is supporting researchers by sharing its repository of past yield map data for multiple vining pea varieties.

This data will be used to calibrate the algorithm and ensure accuracy in time for harvest 2024.

The company’s general manager, Allen Giles, added: “If we can accurately predict yields from individual fields then this could revolutionise the way we harvest vining peas.

“The efficiencies will not only increase productivity, but reduce environmental impact.”

Processor Greenyard expressed support for the project: “If we can predict the yield that is coming out of a field, we can ensure that crops are taken at the required tenderometer reading band, our waste is kept to a minimum, and the possibility of bypassing will reduce.”

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