The activities of pollinating insects; that is butterflies and true flies, bees and moths, are responsible for helping to produce one out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat. Indeed, if you also include the fact that the feed used for farm animals is often derived from a pollinated source; such as clover, the proportion increases even further. This means that pollination services are critically important to agriculture. Indeed, so much so that managed pollinators are now frequently used in order to ensure seed set and subsequent fruit growth in crops such as tomatoes and strawberries.
Using managed pollinators can be expensive. For example, a colony of Bombus terrestris; which are used to pollinate tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and other glasshouse crops, retails at around £65 (100 $US, 85 €) per colony, and multiple nests are required for each glasshouse. The substantial costs that are incurred, mean that growers need to ensure they are obtaining a satisfactory return on their outlay.
Rana can help establish the effectiveness of pollination services. Horticulturalists and commercial fruit growers can use Rana to directly observe the efficiency of managed pollinators. This information can then be related to factors which directly affect their bottom line; such as fruit set and quality, both of which may be directly related to the precise nature of the species providing the pollination services.
As Rana can be instructed to only record when a visitation event occurs, analysis of results can be undertaken without the need to waste time assessing footage containing no pollination events. However, as Rana date and time stamps all events it is still perfectly possible to establish accurate time lines.
Rana can be deployed and left for extended periods as its mode of operation is extremely energy efficient. Also, it can be controlled remotely via a web interface. These factors mean that Rana does not take up valuable resources needing attention.
In summary, Rana can provide data in a timely fashion to aid decision making in precision agriculture.