Temperature changes, soil erosion and rainfall can affect a tree farmers’ ability to grow trees. Unlike grapevines, when trees get stressed, they don’t thrive; they die.
Tree crops are one of the most successful forms of perennial agriculture. An apple orchard can survive for up to 50 years, and a well-cared-for pecan tree could produce a crop for up to 150 years. However, temperature changes, soil erosion and rainfall can affect a tree farmers’ ability to grow trees. Unlike grapevines, when trees get stressed, they don’t thrive; they die.
Despite the success of tree crops, they are also one of the most historically complicated farming segments.
According to Orbia CEO Daniel Martínez-Valle farmers need an abundance of information to understand tree health. Just looking at a tree isn’t enough to understand what’s happening inside it.
“Tree orchards are also incredibly sensitive to climate change, disease, and other factors that can be difficult to monitor through simple surveyance,” said Martínez-Valle.
“Even just a few years back, the technology available to monitor and analyze the production and health of trees and crops was not advanced enough for farmers to utilize in their daily labor,” said Martínez-Valle. “Today, that is no longer the case due to agriculture technology solutions that enable farmers to be more cost-effective and less labor-intensive.”
SeeTree, an Israeli agtech company focusing on tree farming, has received $3 M in funding from Orbia Ventures to help farmers digitize each tree to optimize tree-health and fruit production while saving water and cutting costs.
SeeTree was founded in 2017 in Tel Aviv and works with large growers around the world who farm at least 1000 hectares of tree crops. With a team of data scientists, agronomists, forest rangers and drone operators on board, the company uses military-grade drones, ground sensors, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning tools to create an intelligent picture of a tree’s health and productivity.
SeeTree works with citrus, almond, hazelnut, avocado and olive tree farmers but plans to add eucalyptus, palm and pistachio crops.
According to SeeTree’s CEO and Co-founder, Israel Talpaz, data and intelligence is in their DNA.
“Over the past several years, data from customers has shown how customers were able to improve the health of their trees,” said Talpaz. “These insights have allowed us to restructure their irrigation protocols and equipment to better fit their soil conditions, which resulted in a decrease of under-performing or non-producing trees by 50%-85%.”
“Climate change is taking its toll on the trees in several aspects; the hotter and more extreme weather warrants different irrigation protocols and infrastructure, as well as higher levels of adaptability per grove and farm,” said Talpaz. “Additionally, we see areas that were traditionally un-irrigated suffering higher levels of stress as the trees cannot cope without the aid of specific irrigation.”
Martínez-Valle adds that SeeTree’s technology will let farmers digitize every tree. “Soon, the digital revolution in agriculture will enable us to understand the specific needs