The accurate monitoring of pests is vital to profitable crop and livestock production and to human health and optimises pest management through improved interventions. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the availability of suitably skilled labour on farms has become a global issue. Many crop advisers have been unable to visit farms, leaving growers with a need for rapid, accurate assessment of pest numbers on traps. To compound this problem, skilled on-farm contract staff is in short supply.
This project will develop a SMART mobile phone application that allows growers to take a picture of pest monitoring traps with their mobile phones and to receive a rapid, accurate identification and count of target pest species against a background of non-target insects. This will save considerable time and could be done by non-skilled staff and shared with advisers remotely.
The Smart Monitoring application will be a significant advancement in pest specific monitoring technology with wide application for numerous pests globally. It will establish the UK at the leading edge of this new ground-breaking technology, with huge international market potential and diverse applications in agriculture, health and the environment. If this project is successful, it will safeguard jobs in Wales and would help secure two technical engineers.