Solving The Travelling Salesman Problem Improves Efficiency For Farmers

What is the Travelling Salesman Problem?

Simply put, the Travelling salesman is a mathematical problem to find the fastest route between multiple destinations. If you imagine looking at a Google Maps with multiple stops, trying to find the fastest way to each stop and make it home is a great example of this problem. More information can be found on the Wiki Page.

This is a universal optimization problem that is causing challenges across many industries, and can be commonly seen throughout cargo shipments, flights, and package delivery. 

By solving this problem, you can improve the efficiency of a route or path and help reduce costs for everyone involved. The implications of this equation are applicable in almost every industry.

How Does the Travelling Salesman Help Farmers?

At face value, farming does not seem to have major logistics or routing problems that need to be solved. When you dig a little deeper, every farmer has experienced the challenges of plot mapping and how to most effectively plant and harvest crops.

A plot map is a list of all the fields a farmer is looking to plant and harvest in the current year. Today, there are a few physical methods used to reduce fuel consumption on farms. It is common for farmers leave their equipment at the field after a long day because driving tractors back to the main warehouse is time consuming and expensive. This helps them optimize their gas use and time spent on roads, and ultimately keeps drivers happy because there are less vehicles blocking lanes on the road.

There are many variables that need to be considered when creating a plot map, main points include distance away, plot size, soil type and many other factors. 

If a farmer has access to the most efficient plot map possible, taking into account all the important variables, they would reduce gas and time spent on each acre and increase the amount of farmland a single piece of equipment can operate.

Sustainability Through Optimization

Farming is one of the leading CO2 producing industries in the world, and being able to optimize different aspects of operations would have global impact. By improving which plots are planted and harvested and in what order, we are able to look at a few key metrics that will see improvement.

  1. Fuel Use – Creating an optimized plot map for planting and harvesting reduces the amount of time spent on the roads, reducing fuel consumption. Etching in a 10-15% reduction in driving time has more impact than simply saving fuel, but also reducing maintenance costs.
  2. Time – Improving routing allows farmers to do one of two things. First, they can end their day earlier and spend more time with their family or secondly, they can increase their income by taking on more opportunities while increasing their profit per acre.

Heartland is Using The Travelling Salesman Solution

Supply chain’s can be extremely complex and inefficient, opening the doors for opportunity for improvement. Heartland’s business is no different. By integrating the Travelling Salesman solution into our business, farmers we contract to buy product from can have another toy in their toolbox to better determine the most efficient way to plant, spray and harvest industrial hemp and other crops.

This is a major piece of our sustainability journey that allows us to reduce the cost of new products and increase the general availability of these materials to the world.

Opening The Travelling Salesman Solution To The World

Heartland’s vision is to become earth’s most sustainable company, and the best way to do that is to empower other companies become more sustainable. Once our team is able to create a full solution around this technology, we intend to open it up to farming operations around the world. The opportunity to improve plot map efficiency of every farmer on earth will ultimately put time and money back into their pockets.

What Is Next For The Travelling Salesman Solution?

The Heartland team is exploring different applications of this computing technology to further drive sustainability and new material innovation. We have identified uses in chemical investigation and material science that will allow our business to create never-before-seen solutions from the greenest materials on earth.

Our team is excited to come together with the greater chemical engineering community to drive adoption of new green chemistry technology and processes. Our goal is to make sustainable materials available and affordable for every manufacturer on earth.

Join us in making a world out of hemp.

– Heartland Team

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