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Tech firm launches new platform for shrimp sector

28 November 2018, at 11:02am

A new platform which automates data collection and allows shrimp farmers to make informed data-driven decisions to maximise farm profitability has been launched by XpertSea today.

Shrimp face challenges such as understanding what’s happening to their stocks, preventing diseases, ensuring weight gain with an efficient feed conversion ratio while maximising pond yield, and meeting customer orders on schedule. To tackle such challenges, until now they relied mostly on inefficient manual quality control and visual inspection to make decisions that impact their revenues.

The XpertSea growth platform’s technology allows farmers to collect animal data easily and often, discover and address problems early, optimize feeding regimes, predict growth, and choose the best time to harvest.

“It’s a new concept in aquaculture that has the potential to unlock significant yields for farmers. It replaces manual data entry with smart aquaculture equipment, artificial intelligence, and industry benchmarks,” said Valerie Robitaille, CEO and co-founder of the Canadian tech firm. “Many farmers are still using their ‘best guess’ to decide when to harvest. With the XpertSea Growth Platform they can use reliable data and growth predictions to plan the best harvest date and maximize revenues. It’s all about making more with less.”

Unlike solutions that require manual data entry, it builds on the capabilities of the XperCount, a portable “smart bucket” that uses optics, computer vision and machine learning to count, size, weigh and image aquatic organisms, at the press of a button. The platform leverages this data to provide actionable business insights, on a web-based dashboard that shrimp farmers can access from any device, anywhere.

Taking no more than a few minutes per day, the Xpercount feeds automated organism data such as size and weight to the AI platform, which results in precise data about daily growth rate, feed conversion ratio, stocking density and survival rate, among others. That means farmers make informed decisions about feeding regime and health supplements, and identify problems related to poor pond conditions or disease early. With one glance at the dashboard, you get a complete picture of how your production is doing.

The platform predicts future organism size, their weight distribution and pond composition. The harvest optimisation tool then calculates factors such as average weight, weekly growth rates, and current market prices so you can better plan harvest times. Farmers can even add the cost of staff and feed to get a complete profit forecast for the season. This results in a data-driven scientific approach to picking the best harvest date based on peak time to sell organisms to obtain maximum revenues, while respecting engagement with food processors and end clients.

XpertSea has also accumulated millions of data points on shrimp growth, provided voluntarily by farmers around the world. By benchmarking their growth against this anonymized, aggregated data, producers get a better understanding of what they can change to improve their performance – whether it’s buying better broodstock, choosing different feeds or adding animal health additives.

"Most importantly, this programme provides you and your technicians visibility into the weight distribution that will impact your harvest,” said Sim Ing Jye, Senior Manager at Sea Horse, a fully integrated supplier to hatcheries, farms, processors and international customers, and the largest supplier in Sarawak state in Malaysia. “By understanding this variation earlier, you can focus on adjusting feed parameters to increase profits for each pond, and you will have the peace of mind that there will be fewer surprises at the time of harvest."

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The platform is now available for farms and hatcheries for both shrimp and fish. It’s also configured for health, feed and genetics companies that wish to gain insights on their product efficiency at the field level. The platform is currently deployed successfully in more than 250 sites in Ecuador, Mexico, the UK and Vietnam, among others.

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