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Title:
A HAND HELD DEVICE FOR LAND MANAGEMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/025273
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a hand held device for land management. It is described for a user of the device to provide (110) agricultural information relating to a field, wherein the agricultural information comprises information on at least one crop. A transmitter of the device transmits (120) information comprising the agricultural information relating to the field. A receiver of the device receives (130) agricultural data that comprises best practices for the growing of the at least one crop. A processing unit of the device determines (140) agricultural management information on the basis of the agricultural data. An output unit of the device outputs (150) the agricultural management information to the user of the device.

Inventors:
SCHÄFER, Dirk (Schulstr. 7a, Kerpen, 50171, DE)
Application Number:
EP2018/070262
Publication Date:
February 07, 2019
Filing Date:
July 26, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BAYER BUSINESS SERVICES GMBH (Düsseldorfer Str. 600, Köln, 51061, DE)
International Classes:
G06Q10/06; G06Q50/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2011064445A12011-06-03
Foreign References:
US20060142943A12006-06-29
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BIP PATENTS (Alfred-Nobel-Str. 10, Monheim am Rhein NRW, 40789, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
1. A hand held device (10) for land management, comprising:

an input unit (20);

a processing unit (30);

a transmitter (40);

a receiver (50); and

an output unit (60);

wherein, the input unit is configured to enable a user of the device to provide agricultural information relating to a field, wherein the agricultural information comprises information on at least one crop;

wherein, the processing unit is configured to utilize the transmitter to transmit information comprising the agricultural information relating to the field;

wherein, the processing unit is configured to utilize the receiver to receive agricultural data that comprises best practices for the growing of the at least one crop;

wherein, the processing unit is configured to determine agricultural management information on the basis of the agricultural data; and

wherein, the output unit is configured to output the agricultural management information to the user of the device.

2. Device according to claim 1, wherein the device comprises a GPS unit (70), and wherein the processing unit is configured to determine at least one geographical location of the field, the determination comprising utilisation of the GPS unit, and wherein the information transmitted by the transmitter comprises the at least one geographical location of the field.

3. Device according to claim 2, wherein determination of the at least one geographical location of the field comprises at least one movement of the GPS unit.

4. Device according to claim 3, wherein the at least one movement comprises the device being moved around at least one boundary of the field.

5. Device according to claim 4, wherein the at least one movement comprises the device being moved around all of the boundaries of the field.

6. Device according to any of claims 1-5, wherein the device comprises a camera (80), wherein the camera is configured to enable the user to acquire at least one image relating to the at least one crop, and wherein the information transmitted by the transmitter comprises the at least one image relating to the at least one crop.

7. Device according to claim 6, wherein the at least one image relating to the at least one crop comprises an image of a weed, and/or pest and/or disease of the at least one crop.

8. Device according to any of claims 1-7, wherein the input unit is configured to enable the user of the device to input an information request relating to the at least one crop, and wherein determination of the agricultural management information comprises utilisation of the information request relating to the at least one crop.

9. Device according to any of claims 1-8, wherein the best practices for growing the at least one crop comprises one or more of: how to prepare the ground for sowing of the at least one crop; when to prepare the ground for sowing of the at least one crop; when to sow the at least one crop; how to sow the at least one crop; when to water the at least one crop; when to look for pests, diseases, weeds and what type of pest, disease and weed may or is to be found; what herbicide to use, when and how, what pesticide to use, when and how; if it is not necessary to use a herbicide; if it is not necessary to use a pesticide; and when and how to harvest the at least one crop.

10. A method (100) for land management using a hand held device, comprising: a) providing (110) by a user of the device agricultural information relating to a field, wherein the agricultural information comprises information on at least one crop;

c) transmitting (120), using a transmitter of the device, information comprising the agricultural information relating to the field;

d) receiving (130), using a receiver of the device, agricultural data that comprises best practices for the growing of the at least one crop;

e) determining (140), using a processing unit of the device, agricultural management information on the basis of the agricultural data; and f) outputting (150), using an output unit of the device, the agricultural management information to the user of the device.

11. Method according to claim 10, wherein the device comprises a GPS unit, and wherein step a) comprises determining at least one geographical location of the field, the determination comprising utilisation of the GPS unit, and wherein in step c) the information transmitted by the transmitter comprises the at least one geographical location of the field.

12. Method according to any of claims 10-11, wherein the device comprises a camera, wherein step a ) comprises the user acquiring at least one image relating to the at least one crop using the camera, and wherein in step c) the information transmitted by the transmitter comprises the at least one image relating to the at least one crop.

13. Method according to any of claims 10-12, wherein the method comprises step b) inputting (160) by the user, via an input unit of the device, an information request relating to the at least one crop, and wherein step e) comprises utilisation of the information request relating to the at least one crop.

14. A computer program element for controlling a device according to any of claims 1 to 9, which when executed by a processor is configured to carry out the method of any of claims 10-13.

15. A computer readable medium having stored the program element of claim 14.

Description:
A HAND HELD DEVICE FOR LAND MANAGEMENT

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a hand held device for land management and a method for land management using a hand held device, as well as to a computer program element and a computer readable medium.

BACKGROUND OF THE FNVENTION

The general background of this invention is agricultural management. Increasingly sophisticated agricultural management systems are being provided to large scale agricultural enterprises, who operate sophisticated, sometimes automated, machinery within an integrated agricultural management system. However, a significant proportion of the food the world requires is produced by smallholders, who may have only one very small field, or a number of small fields, and who operate no, or little, mechanized machinery and for whom such sophisticated agricultural management systems are not appropriate.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It would be advantageous to provide agricultural land management tools to aid such smallholders. The object of the present invention is solved with the subject matter of the independent claims, wherein further embodiments are incorporated in the dependent claims. It should be noted that the following described aspects and examples of the invention apply also for the hand held device for land management, the method for land management using a hand held device, and for the computer program element and the computer readable medium.

According to a first aspect, there is provided a hand held device for land management, comprising:

an input unit;

a processing unit;

a transmitter;

a receiver; and

an output unit.

The input unit is configured to enable a user of the device to provide agricultural information relating to a field. The agricultural information comprises information on at least one crop. The processing unit is configured to utilize the transmitter to transmit information comprising the agricultural information relating to the field. The processing unit is configured also to utilize the receiver to receive agricultural data that comprises best practices for the growing of the at least one crop. The processing unit is configured to determine agricultural management information on the basis of the agricultural data. The output unit is configured to output the agricultural management information to the user of the device.

In this way, a farmer who may not know how to grow a particular crop, or what issues could relate to growing that crop, can be provided with specific information relating to that crop that takes into account information relating to the field where the crop is being grown or where growing that crop is being contemplated.

In an example, the device comprises a GPS unit. The processing unit is configured to determine at least one geographical location of the field, the determination comprising utilisation of the GPS unit. The information transmitted by the transmitter can then comprise the at least one geographical location of the field.

In this way, a farmer who may not necessarily know exactly where his farm or a field in that farm is located, is able to be provided with agricultural advice that is tailored to his location. In other words, a device such as a smartphone can use its GPS unit to determine a location of the smartphone. From that location, agricultural advice and/or information can be provided to the farmer via the screen of the smartphone. Also, the at least geographical location can relate to the size of the field at that location, and advice given to the farmer can account for both where the field is located and the size of that field.

In an example, determination of the at least one geographical location of the field comprises at least one movement of the GPS unit. In this manner, a farmer can move a device in order to determine the location of his field. In an example, the at least one movement comprises the device being moved around at least one boundary of the field.

In other words, the farmer can delineate a field through positioning the device at a boundary of the field. In an example, the at least one movement comprises the device being moved around all of the boundaries of the field.

In this manner, a farmer can walk or otherwise move around the border of his field. Therefore, not only can agricultural advice/information be provided to the farmer that accounts for his location the advice/information can account for the size of the field. In an example, the device comprises a camera. The camera is configured to enable the user to acquire at least one image relating to the at least one crop. The information transmitted by the transmitter can then comprise the at least one image relating to the at least one crop. In other words, the agricultural data, comprising best practices for growing a crop, that are downloaded to the device can take into account actual images relating to the crop being grown.

In an example, it is the best practices themselves that are downloaded to the device that have been determined taking into account actual images relating to the crop being grown. In an example, the at least one image relating to the at least one crop comprises an image of a weed, and/or pest and/or disease of the at least one crop. In an example, the input unit is configured to enable the user of the device to input an information request relating to the at least one crop. Determination of the agricultural management information can then comprise utilisation of the information request relating to the at least one crop.

In this way, the advice provided to the farmer can relate to a specific question or problem the farmer has. For example, the farmer could ask when to sow, weed, feed, look for pests/diseases, how to recognise pests/diseases, how to treat pests/diseases, when and how to water the crop, when and how to feed the crop, and when to harvest the crop, and be provided with specific answers to these questions.

In other words, on the basis of the information relating to a field and information on a crop, such as the crop being a tomato, information relating to tomatoes that are relevant to that field, for example taking into account the location of the field, the soil type in the field, the general weather conditions etc, can be downloaded to the device. The processing unit of the device then utilises that information, to process that information to provide a specific answer to a question posed by the farmer.

In an example, the best practices for growing the at least one crop comprises one or more of: how to prepare the ground for sowing of the at least one crop; when to prepare the ground for sowing of the at least one crop; when to sow the at least one crop; how to sow the at least one crop; when to water the at least one crop; when to look for pests, diseases, weeds and what type of pest, disease and weed may or is to be found; what herbicide to use, when and how, what pesticide to use, when and how; if it is not necessary to use a herbicide; if it is not necessary to use a pesticide; and when and how to harvest the at least one crop.

According to a second aspect, there is provided a method for land management using a hand held device, comprising:

a) providing by a user of the device agricultural information relating to a field, wherein the agricultural information comprises information on at least one crop;

c) transmitting, using a transmitter of the device, information comprising the agricultural information relating to the field;

d) receiving, using a receiver of the device, agricultural data that comprises best practices for the growing of the at least one crop;

e) determining, using a processing unit of the device, agricultural management information on the basis of the agricultural data; and

f) outputting, using an output unit of the device, the agricultural management information to the user of the device.

In an example, the device comprises a GPS unit, and wherein step a) can comprise determining at least one geographical location of the field, the determination comprising utilisation of the GPS unit, and wherein in step c) the information transmitted by the transmitter can comprise the at least one geographical location of the field.

In an example, the device comprises a camera, wherein step a) can comprise the user acquiring at least one image relating to the at least one crop using the camera, and wherein in step c) the information transmitted by the transmitter can comprise the at least one image relating to the at least one crop.

In an example, the method comprises step b) inputting by the user, via an input unit of the device, an information request relating to the at least one crop, and wherein step e) comprises utilisation of the information request relating to the at least one crop.

According to another aspect, there is provided a computer program element for controlling an apparatus according to the apparatus of the first aspect, which when executed by a processor is configured to carry out the method of the second aspect. According to another aspect, there is provided a computer readable medium having stored the program element. Advantageously, the benefits provided by any of the above aspects equally apply to all of the other aspects and vice versa. The above aspects and examples will become apparent from and be elucidated with reference to the embodiments described hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Exemplary embodiments will be described in the following with reference to the following drawings:

Fig. 1 shows a schematic set up of an example of a hand held device for land management; Fig. 2 shows a method for land management using a hand held device;

Fig. 3 shows a schematic set up of an example of the hand held device for land management being operated by a user;

Fig. 4 shows a schematic set up of examples of the hand held device for land management being operated by a user;

Fig. 5 shows a schematic set up of examples of the hand held device for land management being operated by a user;

Fig. 6 shows a schematic set up of examples of the hand held device for land management being operated by a user; and

Fig. 7 shows a detailed example of a workflow for the provision of agricultural management information to a farmer.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Fig. 1 shows an example of a hand held device 10 for land management. The device 10 comprises an input unit 20, a processing unit 30, a transmitter 40, a receiver 50 and an output unit 60. The input unit 20 is configured to enable a user of the device to provide agricultural information relating to a field. The agricultural information comprises information on at least one crop. The processing unit 30 is configured to utilize the transmitter 40 to transmit information comprising the agricultural information relating to the field. The processing unit 30 is configured also to utilize the receiver 50 to receive agricultural data that comprises best practices for the growing of the at least one crop. The processing unit 30 is configured to determine agricultural management information on the basis of the agricultural data. The output unit 60 is configured to output the agricultural management information to the user of the device. According to an example, the device comprises a GPS unit 70. The processing unit 30 is configured to determine at least one geographical location of the field, the determination comprising utilisation of the GPS unit 70. The information transmitted by the transmitter then comprises the at least one geographical location of the field.

In an example, the device is configured to receive satellite imagery of the landscape. In this way, a GPS determined location can also be correlated to satellite imagery in order to determine the extent and boundaries of the farmer's field from field boundaries observed in the satellite imagery. In an example, the processing unit is configured to use imagery processing, such as edge detection filters to determine the field boundaries. In an example, from a general GPS determined location satellite imagery can be interrogated to provide the farmer with a number of bounded fields, any one or more of could be their field or fields. These for example could be colour coded. These images of fields are then presented to the farmer, for example on the screen of a smart phone. The farmer, looking at these fields located as they are within satellite imagery, will immediately, from geographical contextual information, such as his field has a big tree in the corner or is next to a stream or is next to the triangular field, for example, be able to indicate which of these fields is his field. This can be done by touching the screen at the position of his or her field. The potential fields can be presented in different colours to the farmer, making it easier to see the different fields in terms of structure and in the context of the surrounding geographical information.

Advice to the farmer can relate to information such as, what crop to grow, how to grow a crop, what herbicide, insecticide or fertilizer to use, when and for what reason, whether there is no need to use a herbicide, insecticide or fertilizer and why they are not needed, when to water the crop, when to sow to the crop and when to harvest the drop. The information provided to the farmer can relate to what disease is affecting the crop, what pest is affecting the crop and how to remedy the situation through for example application of a herbicide or insecticide and when and how it should be applied.

According to an example, determination of the at least one geographical location of the field comprises at least one movement of the GPS unit. According to an example, the at least one movement comprises the device being moved around at least one boundary of the field. According to an example, the at least one movement comprises the device being moved around all of the boundaries of the field. According to an example, the device comprises a camera 80. The camera 80 is configured to enable the user to acquire at least one image relating to the at least one crop. The information transmitted by the transmitter 40 can then comprise the at least one image relating to the at least one crop.

In an example, the at least one image relating to the at least one crop comprises an image of the ground or soil within which the at least one crop is growing and or is to be grown. In an example, the at least one image relating to the at least one crop comprises at least one part of the field. Determination of the at least one geographical location of the field in this example can then comprise utilisation of the at least one image.

In an example, the device is configured to receive satellite imagery of the landscape, and the processing unit is configured use the satellite imagery and the at least one image acquired by the camera of the device in determining the at least one geographical location. In other words, features that are in the acquired image can be compared and/or mapped onto satellite imagery in order to augment the GPS information to determine the at least one geographical location. According to an example, the at least one image comprises at least one image of at least one boundary of the field. According to an example, the at least one image comprises images of all of the boundaries of the field.

Thus, the exact size and location of the boundaries of a field can be determined on the basis of GPS derived information and image derived information. In this way, positional errors in GPS data can be mitigated through utilization of a whole series of images of a boundary of a field. These images can be compared with satellite imagery in order to determine the location of the field. Or, as the farmer walks around a field a whole series of images of the field boundary can be acquired. These can be rendered together to form a seemless synthetic boundary of the field, enabling the exact location of the field boundary and this the exact size of the field to be determined. As part of this image based process, the device such as a smart phone can utilize motion sensors, such as inertial navigation sensors, to determine the distance moved between the acquisition of each image. This information can be used to provide a real size to the dimensions of the synthetic boundary rendered from the images of the field boundary, enabling the exact geographical location of the boundary to be determined. This can augment the GPS derived location information.

In an example, the at least one image relating to the at least one crop comprises an image of the at least one crop. Thus, advice (agricultural management information) provided to the farmer can take account of how a crop looks. For example, the farmer could acquire an image of a tomato or several of their tomatoes growing in a field. These images could be of tomatoes in prime condition, and the farmer could be provided with information that no remedial action is required and that they should continue growing them in the same manner. Advice, based on such imagery, could however advise the farmer when it could be best to harvest the tomatoes. However, the images of the tomatoes could indicate that they should be watered, that they are suffering from a pest or disease, or are less developed than they should be for this field in this location and taking into account when they were planted or sown, and the advice to the farmer could be to water the crop and how much water per unit area to apply, to use a herbicide and/or pesticide and when and how to apply it, and/or to use a fertilizer and when and how to use it.

According to an example, the at least one image relating to the at least one crop comprises an image of a weed, and/or pest and/or disease of the at least one crop. According to an example, the input unit is configured to enable the user of the device to input an information request relating to the at least one crop. The determination of the agricultural management information can then comprise utilisation of the information request relating to the at least one crop. In an example, the agricultural information relating to the field comprises the information request relating to the at least one crop.

Thus, the question posed by the farmer can be processed externally to the device, for example at an external server and the specific answer to the question be contained within the agricultural data, for example best practices, downloaded to the device and the processing unit then just needs to select that answer and present it to the farmer.

According to an example, the best practices for growing the at least one crop comprises one or more of: how to prepare the ground for sowing of the at least one crop; when to prepare the ground for sowing of the at least one crop; when to sow the at least one crop; how to sow the at least one crop; when to water the at least one crop; when to look for pests, diseases, weeds and what type of pest, disease and weed may or is to be found; what herbicide to use, when and how, what pesticide to use, when and how; if it is not necessary to use a herbicide; if it is not necessary to use a pesticide; and when and how to harvest the at least one crop. Fig. 2 shows a method 100 for land management using a hand held device in its basic steps. The method 100 comprises:

in a providing step 110, also referred to as step a), providing by a user of the device agricultural information relating to a field, wherein the agricultural information comprises information on at least one crop;

in a transmitting step 120, also referred to as step c), transmitting, using a transmitter of the device, information comprising the agricultural information relating to the field;

in a receiving step 130, also referred to as step d), receiving, using a receiver of the device, agricultural data that comprises best practices for the growing of the at least one crop;

in a determining step 140, also referred to as step e), determining, using a processing unit of the device, agricultural management information on the basis of the agricultural data; and in an outputting step 150, also referred to as step f), outputting, using an output unit of the device, the agricultural management information to the user of the device.

According to an example, the device comprises a GPS unit, and wherein step a) can comprise determining at least one geographical location of the field, the determination comprising utilisation of the GPS unit, and wherein in step c) the information transmitted by the transmitter can comprise the at least one geographical location of the field.

In an example, determination of the at least one geographical location of the field comprises at least one movement of the GPS unit. In an example, the at least one movement comprises the device being moved around at least one boundary of the field. In an example, the at least one movement comprises the device being moved around all of the boundaries of the field.

According to an example, the device comprises a camera, wherein step a) can comprise the user acquiring at least one image relating to the at least one crop using the camera, and wherein in step c) the information transmitted by the transmitter can comprise the at least one image relating to the at least one crop.

In an example, the at least one image relating to the at least one crop comprises an image of the at least one crop. In an example, the at least one image relating to the at least one crop comprises an image of a weed, and/or pest and/or disease of the at least one crop.

According to an example, the method comprises step b) inputting 160 by the user, via an input unit of the device, an information request relating to the at least one crop, and wherein step e) can comprise utilisation of the information request relating to the at least one crop. In an example, in step d) the best practices for growing the at least one crop comprises one or more of: how to prepare the ground for sowing of the at least one crop; when to prepare the ground for sowing of the at least one crop; when to sow the at least one crop; how to sow the at least one crop; when to water the at least one crop; when to look for pests, diseases, weeds and what type of pest, disease and weed may or is to be found; what herbicide to use, when and how, what pesticide to use, when and how; if it is not necessary to use a herbicide; if it is not necessary to use a pesticide; and when and how to harvest the at least one crop.

Fig. 3 shows an example of how a user uses the device. The user has an App on their smart phone. When asked to define where their field is to be found, the user is actually not sure. She lives in a rural community, has a very small field, and grows different seasonal crops that she sells at a local market. She grows her crops using the knowledge she has gained from successes and failures, and from knowledge gained from her neighbours. She however believes that she can do better, and is operating a device as described herein, that in this example is the smartphone operating an APP (application). Returning to her problem, as to where her field is to be located, the device requests that she walk around the boundary of her field. The device also asks that on her route around the field boundary she can take images of the boundary, but that this is not necessary. Having done this, she indicates that she has finished.

At this point, the mobile phone accesses a remote server via normal telecommunication transmissions, and information is downloaded to the smart phone. This information indicates what crops would be best to grow in that field. Knowing the size of the field, the farmer is provided with information regarding how much seed for example is required, with this information being presented for example on the screen of a mobile phone such as a smart phone. Thus the remote server, from the general location of the user can provide information regarding the type of crop that could be grown and the seed sowing rate per unit area. A processor in the smartphone, from knowledge regarding the size of the field can then provide the farmer with information regarding the actual amount of seed required for her field. The farmer however can indicate the specific crop that she is growing, and can provide information via a keyboard (keypad of the mobile phone) and or take images regarding other information such as images of weeds, diseases and pests, and images of the crop itself. This information is again transmitted to the remote server, and the information provided back to the farmer indicates information such as what herbicides or pesticides/insecticides to use and how and when to use them as well as the quantities required. The information also specifies when to water the crop and when to harvest it.

Rather than use a remote server, if the smartphone has sufficient memory the database of information held on the remote server and the processing that is done to locate the field, and determine weeds/pests etc resides on the smartphone itself. In this case, information need not be sent to the remote server, but the farmer can be provided with the agricultural information even in remote locations with no telephonic coverage.

Fig. 4 shows a further example of how the farmer uses the hand held device, and can follow on from the use exemplified in Fig. 3. The order of the pictures shown in Fig. 4 is 1) top left; 2) bottom left; 3) top middle; 4) bottom middle; 5) top right; and 6) bottom right. At 1) the farmer has entered into the device the crops that she grows in different fields. This could actually be crops that she plans to grow, or indeed she can ask for advice on what crops it would be best to grow. For example on the basis of the location and size of her field, the soil quality in her field, the weather forecast over the coming days and possibly weeks, and when she would like to harvest the crop and so earn some money, she can be provided with suggested crops to grow, and information on how to grow and look after that crop.

However, returning to the specific situation shown in Fig. 4-1), the farmer has indicated that in one field she is growing tomatoes and in a second field she is growing apples. In 2) she has indicated the specific variety of tomato grown in field Fl, the soil type which is optional information and the sowing date. This information is sent to the remote server, and data is sent to her mobile phone relating to all aspects of the agricultural management of this crop, that takes into account when the crop was sown, where her field is located, the size of her field and information such as the weather forecast, the types of pest and disease that may affect her crop at that location. This information can be considered to form part of agricultural data, and the processor of the smart phone utilizes this dataset to drill down and provide specific tailored information to the farmer. In 3) the farmer has requested information regarding the general management of her crop, and is provided with information relating to nursery management including when and how to apply a pesticide, is provided with information regarding transplanting the crop, with information regarding when and how to apply an insecticide, the farmer is also provided with information relating to predicted heavy rainfall over the next 48 hours, enabling her to plan her actions accordingly. Also, information regarding vegetative growth is provided. The farmer requests more information on vegetative growth, with the information provided to the farmer as shown in 4) and 5).

Following this request, in frames 4) and 5) she is provided with information relating to how to prepare the land for the tomatoes, information relating to nursery preparation, seed sowing, germination, and transplanting. She is also provided with information regarding how to look for weeds when the crop is growing, with this discussed in more detail in Fig. 5.

With continued reference to Fig. 4, she is concerned that her crop is not growing as expected, and wonders if something is going wrong. She asks about this through appropriate interaction via the keypad of her smart phone, and in 6) is provided with more information on pests and weeds that could be affecting her crop based on where her field is located, and the time of year and when she sowed the crop and therefore the stage of development the crop was expected to be at. The processor in the mobile phone interrogates the information that was initially downloaded relating to the crop (the agricultural data), and the result of this interrogation is a determination of the information that is presented to the farmer in 6). The farmer could have taken a photograph of the ripening tomatoes and of the leaves and overall tomato plants. The processor in the mobile phone then uses image processing, in combination with the data previously downloaded to the phone, to provide better information to the farmer as to what the problem could be. However, the images could be sent to the remote server, and this more tailored information determined remotely and then sent to the farmer's mobile phone, enabling the information as shown in 6) to be presented to the farmer.

Fig. 5 is a continuation of the frames shown in Fig.4. The order of the pictures shown in Fig. 5 is again 1) top left; 2) bottom left; 3) top middle; 4) bottom middle; 5) top right; and 6) bottom right. In 1), following Fig. 4- 6) relating to what the possible problems could be, the farmer in Fig. 5-1) has indicated that she considers the problem to be damping off. Alternatively, rather than the processor presenting the information relating to a number of possibilities as shown in Fig. 4-6), the processor and or remote server can have automatically determined that the problem was damping off, and the information as shown in Fig. 5-1) be immediately presented to the user.

The process by which images can be used to determine a problem utilizes a machine learning algorithm, such as a neural network that has been trained using numerous images of tomatoes at different stages of growth, at different parts of the world, and at different times, where these images relate to tomatoes that have no problem and tomatoes that are being affected by different pests and diseases, as well as images of complete plants, and leaves, that similarly are at different stages of growth, at different locations of the world, at different times, and that have been affected by different pests and diseases, as well as images of plants that have not been affected. This training set is a "ground truth" set, in that each image is tagged with all the relevant information discussed above. Then, on the basis of an image of a fruit and/or leaf the algorithm can determine the pest/disease or determine that there is no pest/disease problem, but that the crop needs to be watered. This process can operate without knowledge of the particular crop being used, but can operate better with knowledge of that crop. Also, images of weeds and or images of pests themselves (e.g. insects) can be taken, and similarly analyzed with the, or a similar, neural network to provide the farmer with information relating to the pest/disease. Indeed, from the information provided by the farmer, a machine learning algorithm can be used to determine the possible problems as presented in Fig. 4-6), even without image data being presented.

The information being processed then relating to the crop, the location, time of year, stage of growth and other non-image based information as discussed here. This non-image information is also utilized when there are images, and augments the image processing in coming to a prediction of the possible problems as seen in Fig. 4-6) and Fig. 5-1).

Continuing with Fig. 5-1), the farmer is presented with information relating to "damping off, with an explanation of what the symptoms are and a probability of this being the problem and/or a general likelihood of this problem existing. The farmer requests further information regarding damping off, and in Fig. 5-2) is provided with information regarding how to check, by scouting, the crop in the field to confirm that the problem is indeed damping off, or indeed any other problem - be it a disease or pest that has been presented to the farmer as a potential problem. The farmer is also provided with the name of a recommended product that can be used to treat the problem, and in Fig. 5-3) is provided with information relating to how to use the product, when to use the product and what safety measures to take. In Fig. 5 in frames 4), 5) and 6) further examples of potential problems that can be presented to the farmer on the basis of information provided by the farmer relating to the crop in the field, and information relating to the field itself, are shown. The farmer also requests information relating to how she should manage the tomato crop in her field, with Fig. 6 showing the information presented to the farmer relating to her specific crop, in her specific field. The order of the pictures shown in Fig. 6 is 1) top left; 2) bottom left; 3) top right; and 4) bottom right. In images 1,) 2), and 3) she is presented with information relating to nursery management, and when to apply a pesticide spray, what product she could use, and how it is to be used. She is provided with information regarding when to transplant the crop, and when to apply an insecticide, what insecticide could be used and how to apply it. Further information such as how often to water or irrigate the crop, when to apply fertilizer, when it would be best to search (scout) for weeds and diseases/pests, and when to apply fertilizer is provided to the farmer, with this information being provided to the farmer also taking into account the weather forecast. This means that she will not be advised to do something at a time when the weather conditions would not be suitable for that task to be done, and rather task timelines can be adjusted to earlier or later dates in order to take into account the predicted weather conditions at the location of her field.

Fig. 6-4) shows an example of the information presented to the farmer relating to the crop in her specific field, that has been presented to her on the basis of information provided by the farmer and where processing of that information has indicated that it would be best to apply a fungicide on a specific date. The farmer is provided with a product that could be used, a best date to spray the fungicide, the amount and way of apply it, and provided with information relating to the cost per litre of product, thereby enabling the farmer to understand the cost of treatment.

In this way, the farmer is provided with a simple, easy to use, and accessible means to manage her crops, that is particularly suited to smallholders.

Fig. 7 shows a detailed example of a workflow for the provision of agricultural management information to a farmer. A particular example relating to a provision of a cropping calendar is shown. In Fig. 7, creating a personalized cropping calendar involves the interaction among several core components and interaction with the content library, influencing factors, external services and mobile platform. The provision of personalized content delivery (relevant content at right time) is the purpose of developing a cropping calendar. Content related to the cropping calendar is stored in an organized manner in the content library. Different factors relating to the provision of the cropping calendar are now discussed: CONTENT LIBRARY

CROP

This relates to agronomic growth stages, time and timing for each crop. The crop dynamics influence the farming practices. E.g.: Farming practices followed in a paddy are different to those required in growing Tomatoes.

PRODUCTS

Product catalog consists of products details, such as products from Bayer. And provides detail such as: features, benefits, mode of action, recommended crop, target pests, method of application, pre harvest interval etc.

PESTS

The pests module consist of pest name, symptoms caused by pests, control measures recommended control measures.

BEST PRACTICES

The farming practices recommended for profitable farming. These practices include standard practices and custom practices. Standard practices: The farming practices generally followed by farmer in a specific crop stage. E.g. basal fertilizer application during sowing stage. Spacing to be followed during later stages. Custom practices: The farming practices followed by the farmer as a special case to improve the farm productivity. Influencing Factors refer to the external factors that define the set-up of crop stages, time and timing.

INFLUENCING FACTOR

SEASON

Agriculture year is divided into several seasons (spring, summer, autumn, and winter) marked by particular weather patterns which influence the growth cycle of crop and incidence of pests.

CROP

Crop is the plants cultivated for commercial purpose in the field. In case of mixed cropping, more than one kind of crop might be grown in the same field. Primary crop/main crop shall be considered for creating cropping calendar. A field can have only one main crop for which the cropping calendar will be generated. VARIETY

Self-pollinated varieties or hybrids of a crop grown by the farmer. Eg: Abhinav, Laxmi in Tomato.

FARM

Unit of land where the crops are grown. This will be a permanent location, area or the coordinates are not changed often. A farmer can have multiple farms.

FIELD

Sub unit of Farm, which may change (area) every season as the farmer grows different crops. A farm can have multiple fields.

Core components are integral components of cropping calendar that controls the life cycle of cropping calendar (start to end).

CORE COMPONENTS

CONTROLLER

Controller is, for example, a kind of rule engine developed specifically for the purpose of the cropping calendar. Controller analyzes the data received from external services and interacts with other core components.

SCHEDULER

Spring scheduler initiates the process to gather information from external services, run the rule engine and identify the events that should be sent to the mobile application.

NOTIFICATION SERVICE

Notifications service allows server to send different types of alerts and notifications to the mobile app. To generate notifications, Cropping Calendar service interacts with external services.

SYNC SERVICE

Sync Service enables users to synchronize the data from the server. It will be invoked in periodic fashion (at a scheduled time) or on a state change (dynamic/real time). Last successful sync timestamp will be used for syncing subsequent state changes between server and app. If the response is too big to handle in a single response then it will be split into multiple logical parts and will be transferred. Client receives all the splits and updates it in local data repository. If the data is not completely received due to any reason then it will be completely rolled back at client side and a fresh request for update will be initiated during next execution of Sync invocation.

CROP STAGE MODEL

The timelines of a crop calendar is generated based on the Crop stage, timing and time. Standard crop stages defined by agronomists will be mapped with the local crop stages that will be shown in mobile app. Timelines of crop calendar start from specific date (e.g. sowing date- 1st sept 2017) and end after harvesting. The interval between crop stages is timing (e.g. Germination takes 10 days after sowing) and the dates derived based on timing will be shown as time (Germination commence on 10th Sept 2017).

EVENTS

An event is a triggered cropping calendar information which will be displayed along crop stages. Events are classified into 4 categories based on the severity.

1. Information - No remedial action is required, for example, notify famer on a new growth stage attained by the crop.

2. Alert/Warning - Investigate to decide if an action is required. For example, Alert sent when the weather conditions congenial for pests and diseases

3. Input advice - Action is required by the farmer. For example, Spray Nativo to control late blight of Tomato.

4. Fatal event - A disaster is likely to occur. For example, cyclone/hurricane is predicted to destroy the crop

FEEDBACK

Feedback is a component that allows farmers to provide information related to the events/farming practices. Standard feedback is the data capture in a predefined template. Custom feedback is a general data capture template designed to allow farmers provide specific feedback which is not covered in standard templates. Example of data types required for specific farming related data capture is given below.

Date: Date of sowing, date of application, date of harvest, etc.. Text /comments: A text entry field required in all the feedback templates to capture verbal and qualitative inputs from farmer

Number entry: A field to capture the data like cost of plant protection application, dosage applied by farmer etc.

Picture: Attach a picture along with the feedback entered. E.g. capture the picture of a product used for plant protection, capture the picture of pests and diseases in farm.

Radio button: Allow farmer to select Yes/No answers. E.g. was the recommendation useful - Yes/No.

Drop down or Combo-box : Allow farmers to select from the pick list instead of data entry. Eg. List of Bayer products in a drop down menu.

Check box: For example, allow farmers to select the check box if a recommended practice is followed.

Mobile platform plays a role in enabling most of the features built in the mobile application. Mobile device with better OS capabilities provide optimal user experience.

MOBILE PLATFORM

MOBILE CONTROLLER

Mobile controller rule engine is similar to the controller in server which is designed specifically to analyze the data gathered from external services and interact with other core components.

MOBILE OPERATING SYSTEM

Operating system (OS) interact with the mobile controller and allows the application to utilize the hardware and software resources. E.g. the capabilities for local language, keyboard, screen size, camera resolution, performance, processing speed, offline usage etc.

Digital farming services and other third party services provide information related to external factors that trigger core components to generate events in cropping calendar.

EXTERNAL SERVICES

WEATHER

Weather API from digital farming services provide weather daily and hourly weather forecast on regular intervals. The information is useful for farmers to plan and manage farm activities. ALERT AS/RISK SERVICE

The Alertas provide weather and location based alerts and information related to pests and disease incidence, which in turn filtered by controller and relevant crop stage specific alerts are provided in cropping calendar.

SCOUTING

Service provided by digital farming platform enables farmers to send pictures of weeds, pests and diseases and identify pests and obtain control measures.

MARKET PRICE

Market price information from third party services are funneled through controller for personalized alerts to farmer's interest.

PARTNER SERVICE

Services from other partners/stakeholders, for example of Bayer, to provide information like recommendation on application of fertilizer for better results based on soil nutrient conditions.

In another exemplary embodiment, a computer program or computer program element is provided that is characterized by being configured to execute the method steps of the method according to one of the preceding embodiments, on an appropriate system.

The computer program element might therefore be stored on a computer unit, which might also be part of an embodiment. This computing unit may be configured to perform or induce performing of the steps of the method described above. Moreover, it may be configured to operate the components of the above described apparatus and/or system. The computing unit can be configured to operate automatically and/or to execute the orders of a user. A computer program may be loaded into a working memory of a data processor. The data processor may thus be equipped to carry out the method according to one of the preceding embodiments. This exemplary embodiment of the invention covers both, a computer program that right from the beginning uses the invention and computer program that by means of an update turns an existing program into a program that uses invention.

Further on, the computer program element might be able to provide all necessary steps to fulfill the procedure of an exemplary embodiment of the method as described above. According to a further exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a computer readable medium, such as a CD-ROM, USB stick or the like, is presented wherein the computer readable medium has a computer program element stored on it which computer program element is described by the preceding section.

A computer program may be stored and/or distributed on a suitable medium, such as an optical storage medium or a solid state medium supplied together with or as part of other hardware, but may also be distributed in other forms, such as via the internet or other wired or wireless telecommunication systems.

However, the computer program may also be presented over a network like the World Wide Web and can be downloaded into the working memory of a data processor from such a network. According to a further exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a medium for making a computer program element available for downloading is provided, which computer program element is arranged to perform a method according to one of the previously described embodiments of the invention.

It has to be noted that embodiments of the invention are described with reference to different subject matters. In particular, some embodiments are described with reference to method type claims whereas other embodiments are described with reference to the device type claims. However, a person skilled in the art will gather from the above and the following description that, unless otherwise notified, in addition to any combination of features belonging to one type of subject matter also any combination between features relating to different subject matters is considered to be disclosed with this application. However, all features can be combined providing synergetic effects that are more than the simple summation of the features.

While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, such illustration and description are to be considered illustrative or exemplary and not restrictive. The invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments. Other variations to the disclosed embodiments can be understood and effected by those skilled in the art in practicing a claimed invention, from a study of the drawings, the disclosure, and the dependent claims. In the claims, the word "comprising" does not exclude other elements or steps, and the indefinite article "a" or "an" does not exclude a plurality. A single processor or other unit may fulfill the functions of several items re-cited in the claims. The mere fact that certain measures are re-cited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage. Any reference signs in the claims should not be construed as limiting the scope.