Asparagus Harvesting Partnership kicks off at ANU
In April, the Centre’s ANU node partnered with Mulyan Pty Ltd, an asparagus farm in Cowra NSW, to develop an autonomous harvesting robot for green asparagus.
“Harvesting asparagus is difficult to achieve using traditional agricultural machinery due to the unstructured and sparse nature of the crop and the fact that only a part of the crop is harvested each day. We have a team of farm hands that go back over every acre of asparagus in the farm every day during the harvest period, making asparagus one of the most expensive crops in the portfolio in terms of manpower,” said Ed Fagan, of Mulyan Farms.
The Centre’s ANU node is carrying out an 18-month project to develop a prototype vision-based harvesting system that identifies asparagus spears for harvest in real time using dense geometric SLAM techniques and image-based visual servoing to cut, capture and collect the spears, storing them in cold water to seal in their maximum taste as quickly as possible.
▴ Centre researchers from ANU are working with Mulyan Pty Ltd, an asparagus farm in Cowra NSW to develop an autonomous harvesting robot for green asparagus. Image courtesy of Alex Martin.