Delair Teams with Phenome to Improve Plant Breeding, Variety Testing with Drones


Drone solutions company Delair has announced a new partnership with Phenome Networks, a plant breeding software company.

At the annual ISF World Seed Congress on June 3-5 in France, Phenome and Delair will present their strategic collaboration, offering a combined system to accelerate plant breeding and variety testing. According to the partners, seed breeders and variety testers will benefit from an integrated and easy-to use workflow to merge research data managed in PhenomeOne software with plant data collected by Delair drone solutions.

Tracking and tracing data generated by the plant breeding process represents a challenge in crop research, the companies say. Data needs to be aggregated from hundreds of field trials, and the corresponding analysis must consider genetic connections in different generations among large seed populations, with traits observed and measured over a range of locations and time.

Collecting large-scale, field-based plant phenotypic data with sufficient resolution and accuracy in a reproducible and non-invasive manner is also seen by seed breeders and variety testers as a bottleneck for the effective use of genomic data for crop improvement, according to the partners.

The partnership, the companies say, overcomes these limiting factors by combining the breeding management capabilities of the PhenomeOne software with the plant-focused mapping performance of the Delair UX11 AG drone for agriculture, as well as the analytics and machine learning capabilities of both the cloud platform and PhenomeOne modules.

“We believe this unique collaboration is a real opportunity for seed breeders and variety testers to benefit from the best of our two worlds, state-of the-art crop research and advanced aerial intelligence,” says Lénaic Grignard, Delair’s agriculture and forestry marketing manager. “The team at Phenome Networks also shares our vision to develop a wide and open ecosystem of partners to facilitate better decisions in agriculture and unlock the big data genetic potential of plants.”

“With this collaboration, seed companies will be able to manage and analyze data collected and extracted by Delair drone-based solutions in PhenomeOne software,” adds Inbar Stern, vice president of sales and business development at Phenome. “Valuable information flow between these two innovative technologies will reduce labor and provide insights to derive better varieties developed by our customers.”

The new workflow will allow breeders to design field trials with maps provided in PhenomeOne and synchronize them with to build the digital twin of an experimental field based on drone data collection. Traits data will be extracted at plot level and microplot level by algorithms and agriculture-optimized analytics. Extracted environmental traits information will be stored in PhenomeOne and will merge with all other genetics, genomics and phenotypic breeding data available in the platform to provide new insights for plant breeders and variety testers.

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