REAL time information is a worthy weapon in the fight against fruit fly for the horticulture industry.
It's that thinking which has driven the launch of RapidAIM, an automated insect monitoring business.
The company owns a network of specially designed traps which detect the presence of a fruit fly, send the data to the cloud for analytics, and generate an alert for an end user.
Essentially it provides the user with a map showing the location of thousands of traps providing accurate surveillance.
This allows the location and occurrence of fruit fly outbreaks to be seen on-demand, and therefore support a rapid response.
RapidAIM's agro-ecologist and entomologist, Nancy Schellhorn, CSIRO, spoke about the system at the Future Farming Masterclass at the AgroTrend field days at Bundaberg last week.
Monitoring for fruit fly is presently done manually, Dr Schellhorn said, with managing the pest costing about $1 billion globally.
Millions of traps are checked every seven to 14 days around the world.
- Robots and drones draw growers to AgroTrend | PHOTOS
- 100 Tassie growers still affected by fruit fly
- Need for double bagging fruit fly host produce lifted by DPIPWE
In Australia, governments manually maintain and check 12,000 traps year round while the state of California maintains 63,000 traps.
Many more fruit fly traps are maintained by growers for pest management.
She said the aim is to create a company that is the leading data service provider enabling efficient and sustainable pest management.
"We believe in making agriculture smart. We are in a new era of biosecurity," she said.
"Fruit fly is the number one biosecurity barrier to trade for fruit and veg."
One of the special parts to the RapidAIM technology is the use of a sensor which distinguishes what insect has landed, like a "behavioural fingerprint".
The device has no cameras but a small radio signal that's transmitted to a gateway.
The two lithium-ion batteries within the unit provide enough power for 12 months.
The more traps there are in a region, the more accurate the forecasting of the fruit fly hotspots will be.
"The neighbours will want neighbours to have RapidAIM," she said.
Dr Schellhorn said with a farmer freed up from having to check traps, or pay a worker to check traps, he or she can focus on the farm's larger needs.
Fruit fly is the number one biosecurity barrier to trade for fruit and veg.
RapidAIM works on a per trap, per month subscription basis, allowing the users to make the most of hardware upgrades which remain the property of the company.
In April last year, RapidAIM completed its first semi-commercial field trial comprising a grid of 80 traps across the Shepparton district.
The field trial was done in collaboration with 15 prominent growers and key agronomic stakeholders who have the RapidAIM test-app with live updates of fruit fly activity and are empowered with data-on- demand to inform pest management.