Monday, 5 November 2018

The original pizza story and what Trapview has to do with it

The official story of pizza Margherita says, that it was invented in 1889 for Queen Margherita's visit of Naples. While different options were tested the one with tomato (red), basil (green), and mozzarella (white) was selected as it best represented Italian flag. The legend was born and the taste of true pizza Margherita (like the one in picture below) is something that is hard to forget.

In order to achieve the perfection a careful ingredients selection is crucial. One of the most important ingredients is tomato. True pizza Margherita (and also pizza Napoletana) use San Marzano tomatoes. Wikipedia says, that San Marzano tomatoes originate from the small town of San Marzano sul Sarno, near Naples, Italy, and were first grown in volcanic soil in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. One story goes that the first seed of this tomato came to Italian province of Campania in 1770, as a gift from the Viceroyalty of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples, and that it was planted in the area of San Marzano. It is considered the most important tomato variety of 20th century.  

Unfortunately San Marzano - as well as other varieties of tomatoes - is one of the favorite host plants for Cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera). This pest is not really picky and its caterpillars can feed on different host plants which makes it one of the most economically important pest worldwide with estimated damage of around $5 billion annually. To make things even more complicated, it is a great traveler and can travel several hundreds of kilometers using high altitude winds. Monitoring and acting against this pest is thus quite a challenge.

Here is where a network of automated pest monitoring traps comes into play. Knowing what is happening with pest population in real time is crucial. Knowing what will happen in next few days completely changes decision making progress. This is not about collecting only weather data and using that data in more or less adopted biological models. It is about automatically collecting pest data with relevant weather data and using artificial intelligence to forecast pest development way more accurate and location specific than what has been possible so far. In order to achieve that, high quality and high resolution data is needed. 

That's why at Trapview we are setting up networks of fully automated traps that include high efficiency catching (funnel trap) combined with self-cleaning mechanism to minimize maintenance needs. That's why the lures are standardized to have reliable and comparable catches. And that's why every device collects also relevant weather data. 

Of course all above is combined with proved Trapview platform, where the "magic" of intelligent processing of all this data is done. While "Magic" of artificial intelligence is often just a combination of buzzword and wishful thinking, in Trapview can be very concrete - like identifying targeted pest from the pictures with better accuracy than human.

There is so much knowledge hidden in the data. Utilizing machine learning helps us unlock this knowledge and deliver a simple, yet so powerful outcome - accurately telling you what will happen in the next few days. 

Matej Štefančič

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

May all your dreams be caught

Modelling of up to three different pests with Trapview Degree Days

The Degree Days functionality has been a popular feature of Trapview to complement the automated pest monitoring information. Following user feedback and market demand we have extended the functionality and introduced degree day modelling for up to three different pests simultaneously. We are using the occasion to give a quick overview about the method and how to use it in Trapview application.

Degree days modelling is a methodology to assess pest insect development stage based on heat accumulation. Insects are exothermic or cold-blooded, therefore their body temperature and growth are fundamentally affected by temperature in their environment. They require a certain amount of heat accumulation to reach certain developmental stages, such as egg hatching, pupating or adult flight. For example Codling moth requires around 250 Degree Days (DD) to begin egg hatch and around 350-600 DD to reach peak flight of the first generation.

If Trapview automated traps are equipped with temperature and humidity sensor like pictured above, the basic weather data (which are obviously a prerequisite for the degree days methodology) are automatically collected. Combined with other pest monitoring information and imagery Trapview allows for better identification of the pest’s developmental stage and to more accurately plan appropriate crop protection measures.

In order to use the degree days model within Trapview WEB application a few parameters should be set by the user initially. The first parameter is the date of the start of monitoring season or the date of when the first insects were captured/observed in the trap (so called biofix). The next parameters are Lower development threshold (LDT) and Upper development threshold (UDT). Below the LDT and above UDT development of insects is rapidly slowed or does not occur. The threshold values depend on particular insect species and also on monitoring location. Default values are provided in the Trapview application based on accessible information available. However, the thresholds can be modified based on actual pest development and saved to be used for the following seasons.

Degree days modelling in Trapview is also a convenient way to lower the cost of monitoring different pests simultaneously. Trapview WEB application allows users to set degree days models for up to three different pests per single trap. The feature can be accessed by following the link Select additional monitored pest in the Degree days tab (please see the picture above).

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Helicoverpa armigera - The hungry traveler

Helicoverpa armigera (aka Old world bollworm / scarce bordered straw worm / corn earworm / cotton bollworm / cotton earworm / tobacco budworm / tomato worm) is a polyphagous and adaptive pest that attacks numerous crops like tomato, lettuce, soy, cotton, maize, common beans, chick peas, flax, sunflower, winter grains, citrus, wheat, barley, oats and sorghum. Worldwide, H. armigera has been reported on over 180 cultivated hosts and wild species in at least 45 plant families.

Its annual agricultural control costs and production losses amount to €5 billion globally. It is especially damaging because it feeds on the reproductive structures and bores inside the plant, making it difficult to detect and control. A very large number of insecticides are deployed to control this pest, which is already resistant to many compounds.

Get Full Article about H. armigera

Under adverse conditions, moths can migrate long distances. Adults can disperse distances of 10 km during “non-migratory flights” and hundreds of kilometres (up to 250 km) when making “migratory flights,” which occur when host quality or availability declines. Long-distance seasonal movements from low to higher latitudes, usually with warm winds preceding cold fronts, are most common in summer, and adults may migrate up to 1000km and reach Britain and other parts of Europe from sources in southern Europe and North Africa.

Because of its economical importance and distant migrations Trapview has initiated a 2-year project to create a dense network of fully automated traps in the Mediterranean basin, combining it with significant advances in automated pest recognition, data analysis and forecasting of pest population similar to weather forecasts. The project has been awarded a substantial grant from the EU Horizon 2020 SME Instrument programme, which is a direct recognition by EU Commission that EFOS' Trapview automated pest monitoring system is a breakthrough innovation in agriculture. The recognition allows EFOS to further position itself as a top leading crop and pest monitoring solution in the world.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Can we still improve quality control after 500+ years of experience?

This year Bavaria celebrates 500 years of one of the first laws regulating food safety and quality. Although roots can be dated back as early as 1400s’, in 1516 a series of orders were imposed in Bavaria and later in whole Germany called “Reinheitsgebot” – the Purity Law. According to it, the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were water, barley and hops.

The latter was initially used as a preservative as it adds to beer stability by virtue of its antibacterial properties, but it soon became fundamental to achieve desirable flavor and accent in beer. Depending on the style of beer, hops can add balance to the finished product through bitterness, flavor, and aroma, which is given by essential oils produced in the female flower of the hop plant[1].

Because many factors affect essential oil production and preservation, every season holds the potential for significant variation in both the total amount of oil and its composition, even for a single variety. Apart from soil quality and irrigation other major factors affecting hops quality are of course pests and diseases causing stress on plants and consequently reducing quantity and quality of yield (alfa acid and essential oil levels). Therefore, it is important that each of the plant distress factors are being controlled as much as possible.

With Slovenia being the 5th largest hops producing country in the World, the importance of controlling the inhibiting factors is that more articulated. Therefore the Slovenian Institute for Hop Research and Brewing (SIHRB) was established by Slovenian hop growers in 1952. Over a span of more than fifty years it has carried out a significant scientific research work in the area of hop growing and the brewing industry. Some of the areas of SIHRB’s activities are creation of new hop varieties, development new methods in technologies of hop production, implementation IPM (integrate pest management) in hop production and development of new hops production and harvesting technologies.

SIHBR conducts research on integrated pest and disease management methods for hops. Lately, one of the major insect pests in hops in Slovenia is European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis (ECB)) last ten years. Its presence on hops in Slovenia has been monitored by SIHBR for over 35 years and the economic damage it causes has been increasing significantly over the last 10 years[2].  One of the major challenges in monitoring ECB, according to dr. Rak Cizej, is that monitoring of ECB with pheromone-baited traps cannot yet be used in practice in prognosis system for forecasting.

Being aware of the problem of monitoring ECB also in other crops where it is present (primarily maize), Trapview has been cooperating with SIHRB in developing the automated light trap using special LED UV light to attract this elusive pest. The aim of Trapview automated pest monitoring system is to make the crop protection decision process simpler and easier for all stakeholders (forecasters, advisory staffs, farmers). The decision makers can base their actions on actual pest data sent from the automated traps placed in the field and processed by Trapview advanced image recognition, machine learning and data analysis algorithms that enable better crop quality control.
So this is how after 5 centuries of our ancestors’ endeavors SIHRB and Trapview are making joint efforts to make your next beer taste that much better.*

[2] Cizej, M.R. 2013. Monitoring of the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner) on hops (Humulus lupulus L.) with pheromone traps. Hop Bulletin, Vol.20 pp.38-47 ref.14.
*Drinking alcohol may harm your health. Drink responsibly.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Trapview Alerts


Trapview Alerts

The Trapview Alerts feature is simplifying the management of automated traps by sending an email when events requiring user's attention occur. The new instruction video is showing you how to set up the alerts easily.

*NOTE: Alert email message contains pictures that could be omitted by some spam filters. Make sure that you put emails coming from domain on the Safe Senders list.
Trapview Alerts
Trapview Alerts video showing simple setup of alerts function.
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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Is pest population declining or is sticky plate full?

Assessing peak flight of the target pest species is one of the key tasks in insect monitoring when taking the crop protection measures. You miss a few days and effectiveness of the crop protection products could be reduced by even 40%.

With Trapview the users can assess the peak flight by following statistical data provided under the Pest chart tab like it is shown in the picture below. There is a curve clearly visible indicating that the peak flight has been reached. But is this really the case here?

If we take a closer look at the timeline of daily images, it is evident that there has been no sticky surface available for new pests to be caught for a few days now, which could mistakenly lead the users to think the peak flight was already reached. The consequence of this is misapplication of insecticides and risking development of resistance to insecticide in pests.

To ensure consistent trapping results and avoid risking insecticide misapplication, make sure enough sticky surface is always available for new pests to be caught efficiently. Therefore, sticky pads need to be changed regularly or as soon the gluing surface is covered with wing dust, dirt or other debris. So whenever you see a similar picture to the one below, make sure the sticky pad is changed as quickly as possible and mark this event in the Event tab.