Modernizing Greenhouse Yield Predictions: Harnessing AI for More Consistent Greenhouse Forecasts                            Ecoation 2023 Season in Review

ecoation yield forecast review


Fresh produce marketers require production forecasts from a greenhouse to drive sales and secure better prices by matching future demand with stable supply. Production forecasts allow growers to plan their harvests effectively, aligning labour availability with the harvestable fruit load. Using outdated forecasting methods or relying solely on intuition creates an increased risk for the company in delivering its contracts. New tools, powered by artificial intelligence, offer a more consistent solution for growers. 

In 2023, ecoation introduced a cutting-edge machine vision technology that represents a significant leap in horticultural efficiency for yield forecasting in tomato and pepper greenhouse production. By combining accurate fruit counts, solar radiation forecasts, and crop growth data, this advanced technology makes the job of forecasting much simpler, more reliable, and scalable for the operator. 

By providing greenhouses with an automated solution to generate a consistent 1-5 week production forecast, growers are able to solve the problem of better-timed market deliveries and reduce the amount of time and effort required to forecast yields over a large area. In 2023, the ecoation forecasting platform was successfully deployed over hundreds of hectares of greenhouses in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and multiple countries in Europe and Asia. 

The purpose of this report is to showcase the successful application of the ecoation technology during the 2023 season, providing a comprehensive overview of its impact across various customer scenarios.

Company and Technology Overview

From humble beginnings in the mountainside city of North Vancouver, ecoation has become a global leader in greenhouse forecasting technology. The company's journey has been driven by a passion for innovation and efficiency in greenhouse operations. The forecasting platform is now used in greenhouse operations across the globe. 

The Vital Role of Excellent Customer Support for Technology Companies in the Greenhouse Industry

Fig. 1 -  OKO Gen 1 is used globally in various greenhouses in the world. 

The OKO platform is a comprehensive solution built by ecoation’s expert team of engineers, data scientists, and agronomists for short and long-term yield forecasting. The OKO platform is location-aware, effectively matching the precise location of a fruit count to a specific location in the greenhouse. The machine vision system is portable, easy to use and set up, and can even be used to count fruit while walking in the greenhouse.


Fig.2 -  OKO Gen 2 will be released commercially in February 2024. The new generation can be used in greenhouses without pipe rail yet still provide geo-location and all other functions. 

As the OKO moves through the rows of tomatoes and peppers, the AI-powered camera automatically detects, segments, counts, and classifies the fruit according to ripeness. These fruit counts are used to generate a forecast for the next 7-10 days.

A centralized dashboard is used to view the yield forecast in an interface exquisitely designed for the needs of the modern greenhouse operation. The long-term forecast is built using the historical fruit counts, harvests, crop registration metrics, and climate parameters to predict the yield in the following 2-5 weeks. The operator can also view the average fruit count per row, per post, and per square meter from the dashboard. 

Fig.3 -  Ecoation Forecast Dashboard. 

What sets the ecoation platform apart is its precision, reliability, and user-friendliness, offering unparalleled benefits to modern greenhouses that are looking to centralize and standardize production forecasting.

Seasonal Overview - 2023

In the first year of scaled commercial deployment of the AI-powered forecasting solution, ecoation delivered over 5000 unique forecasts to greenhouses around the world. In a dynamic and difficult horticulture environment, consistency is paramount to counter universal challenges faced by growers. 

In 2023 global greenhouse production of tomatoes and peppers faced obstacles ranging from decreased light levels from summer smoke, record high fertilizer and energy prices, and continued viral pressure from rugose. As the scale of greenhouse production increases, growers look towards solutions that help them in their daily challenges while also having a clear return on investment. In 2023, ecoation's global Customer Success team repeatedly heard three challenges from the greenhouse growers:

  • Labour availability, resulting in more hectares managed by fewer people.
  • Rising input costs including energy, water, fertilizer, seeds, and pest control resulted in a narrowing profit margin with a focus on efficiency.
  • Pest, disease, and increasingly unpredictable climate challenges impacting production and yield consistency. 

In various applications, the ecoation forecasting platform addresses each of these challenges for greenhouse producers. Growers who learned to embrace AI-driven greenhouse technology benefited by having more time, greater certainty on production, and a better view of where pest and diseases impact production. 

One tomato grower in Southern Ontario stated “Ecoation saved me 5-10 hours every week through digitization alone. Simplifying our forecasting process lets me spend even more time in the crop to focus on growing balanced plants.”

Growers who use the platform gain greater visibility into production across multiple phases in real-time with less headache and fewer phone calls. For example, multi-state greenhouse operators use ecoation tools to oversee production in both their Mexican and Canadian operations from a single dashboard. 

In 2023 we worked with multiple customers to understand the specific impact of pests and diseases on the yield of their pepper crop, and whether a hot spot has a detrimental impact when compared to areas of the crop that had less damage. The end result of the analysis demonstrated to the grower that they can specifically target and reduce chemical and biological crop control agents without a reduction in yield.

A notable accomplishment for ecoation in 2023 was a vast increase in the number of tomato and pepper cultivars that were successfully forecasted. In total, over 15 different cultivars of tomatoes and 8 pepper varieties were monitored, emphasizing the diversity and scope of our technology's application. While each greenhouse is analyzed distinctly on its own, greater exposure to a wider range of fruit shapes and ripening rates adds trustworthiness to the system.


The ecoation forecasting platform uses a comprehensive approach to data collection, utilizing advanced cameras and machine vision to capture real-time, accurate information about fruit counts. Ecoation’s AI-driven yield platform counts more fruit over a more representative area in less time than manual counting fruit. 

Fig.4 -  Ecoation Forecast Dashboard. 

Forecasting with the ecoation platform is done in four easy steps:

  1. Two benchmark rows per 10,000 m2 of production are selected with the grower.
  2. One time per day, the trained operator runs the OKO down the row at a specific height.
  3. On the specified forecasting date, the grower enters last week's harvest and average fruit weight.
  4. The ecoation platform will automatically generate a 5-week forecast available to sales, marketing, owners, and growers for visibility

Ecoation has developed unique forecasting models for various types of tomatoes and peppers commercially produced in greenhouses. The sophisticated models used for forecasting are tailored for both short-term and long-term predictions and are adapted to different crop types and radiation conditions.

Results and Analysis

When it comes to forecast production, accuracy and consistency is a high priority for growers. While forecasting in any endeavour is never equivalent to a perfect crystal ball, the results of statistical analysis will ultimately lead to better accuracy and more consistent forecasts than simply using intuition and guesswork. 

Over the 2023 season, ecoation demonstrated that AI-driven yield forecasting in tomatoes and peppers improves both accuracy and consistency when compared to manual forecasting methods. This conclusion was reached in over 10 greenhouses using the technology in 2023. Notable results included:

  1.  In a beefsteak tomato crop in Southern Ontario, 1-week forecast accuracy was improved by 10.8% compared to another software-only solution.

  2. In a red bell pepper crop in Mexico, 1-week forecast accuracy was improved by 14% compared to a traditional hand counting method. 

  3. In a TOV tomato crop in Japan, the 1-week forecast was above 90% accuracy 12 weeks in a row, and over 80% accurate 29 out of 35 weeks. 

  4. In a yellow, red, and orange bell pepper crop in Ontario, the ecoation platform delivered uninterrupted forecasted for 27 consecutive weeks.

  5. Short-term Forecasting: the average error range of the algorithm's 1-week forecasts had a range of 6% - 21% between the different tomato greenhouses. While in peppers the average error range was between 9 - 18% for the short-term accuracy

When comparing the ecoation technology's performance with traditional methods, it's clear in the results the advancements and improvements made by numerous greenhouses who adopted the technology in 2023. 

Fig. 5 - A Western European greenhouse growing specialty TOV tomatoes under LED lighting was able to achieve remarkable consistency in their forecast week over week. 

Fig. 6 - An Ontario greenhouse growing bell peppers in 60 acres was better able to predict flushes that don’t closely follow expected radiation patterns. 

Benefits Highlighted

Yield forecasting is a critical component of greenhouse management. Accurate forecasts enable better planning, from resource allocation to market strategies. Traditional methods, though reliable to an extent, come with limitations. They often fail to account for the myriad of variables that influence crop growth. 

The benefits that notable growers using the forecasting platform reported in 2023 were:

  • Predictable Yield: Ecoations consistent forecasting leads to better and more consistent yield management, which can increase production through balanced crop growth. 

  • Cost Efficiency: Economic benefits, including reduced waste and optimized resource allocation, translate to significant cost savings.

  • Ease of Use: Customer feedback on the usability of the platform is regularly highlighted by customers ranging in technical abilities, showcasing its user-friendly interface.


In summary, the 2023 season was an overall success and a testament to the reliability and credibility of the forecasting solution introduced at scale to tomato and pepper greenhouses. Looking ahead, the ecoation team is excited to implement upcoming and continuous enhancements to the short and long-term yield forecasting models, signalling our commitment to continuous improvement.

Ecoation encourages potential customers to get in touch for more information or to see the forecasting technology in action in their greenhouse. Detailed information about our platform can be provided for those interested in the technical aspects. Comprehensive data reports and in-depth analyses can be included for stakeholders who wish to delve deeper into the specifics of our technology's performance.


For more information, please contact 

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