PAST RESIDUE

Use Case

PAST RESIDUE




This image was taken on June 28 after being planted on May 18. We consider this a bare soils map even though the soybeans are 3 inches tall because the soil still dominates the reading. All management practices in this field were done the same. There is about a 25-degree difference in soil temperature between the green and red. If all management practices are equal, why are there blocks of different temperatures?

Reason: the amount of residue on the field from the different hybrids of corn planted the previous year. The purple, cold area was a tall, leafy hybrid the year before while the red area was a short, highly decomposed hybrid.

We followed this image up with a plant health image in July which shows where the soil temperature was the warmest, the soybeans were the healthiest due to earlier emergence and getting off to a fast start. As a result these soybeans yielded 8 bushels to the acre better than the soybeans in the cooler areas. This is a testament to how historical imagery is important for future management practices.






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Getting Smarter: 2018 Commodity Classic

From left to right: Todd Golly (Aker Technologies Inc.), Randy Meyers (Bayer), Cyndi Young (Brownfield Ag News)

“The general trend is that everything is getting smarter.” states co-founder and COO Todd Golly when describing that technological advances within the industry, “Whether it’s accounting systems, tillage tools, crop protection products, or application equipment, everything is getting smarter and trying to use data and algorithms to make farms more efficient and profitable.”

Todd points out that not only do these technologies need to possess accurate algorithms, but they must also bring a valuable business purpose to users. During his interview (pictured) he discussed how Aker played a large part in proving the usefulness of Delaro, a Bayer fungicide, for in-season risk-management. During his 2017 trial, Todd used Aker’s imagery service to fly before and after the application of the fungicide. Todd noticed the product had both a rapid and lasting positive responses to the health of the crop throughout the season. Through Aker’s imagery correlation to yield Todd was able to justify the cost of using this product in seasons to come.

Listen to Brownfield Ag News interview.

Use Case: Off-season Field Management Matters

This 300-acre soybean field was flown in the middle of the growing season. Indicated in the image, there is visible plant stress in the form of an unusual line throughout the field (the red area labeled 1). In the off-season, manure was spread at each access point in the field. This proves that there is compaction from the manure operation. The compaction paired with the uneven manure spreading can have negative lasting impacts on the plant health in future crops. This is one way Aker can help you take a look at what is going on between your rows. Review this use case via the Aker platform >>

Aker – A New Face of Cleantech Innovation

We are honored to be the winner of the AgTech track in Clean Tech Open Midwest competition. We thank this awesome community of supporters who see the need to improve crop management practices with the right technology. More news here.

Can the Midwest Own Innovation In BigFood Agriculture?

As the innovation ecosystem in Chicago and the Midwest expands with almost breathtaking speed, we are establishing ourselves as best-of-class in fields such as nanotechnology, robotics, digital and financial tech, material science and advanced manufacturing. I want to add one more area in which the Midwest can be recognized as the world’s leader in innovation. It is perhaps the most obvious and least recognized of all—agriculture.

The Chicago region has obvious advantages in terms of both tradition and the vibrancy of its innovation ecosystem. Leadership in agricultural innovation on a large scale is there for the taking. But we are not the only ones to know that. The race is on to become the AgTech home for Big Agriculture (or Big Food), with creation of an enormous number of jobs and value up for grabs.

As an entrepreneur, I look for opportunity. Big Food presents some of the best opportunities in the last few years. Here are some reasons why. The International Association of Agricultural Economics projects worldwide population will grow 35 percent by 2050, leading to a 59 to 98 percent increase in demand for food. There are two ways to meet this hunger. Cut down more forests to open more arable land—an approach that is both unwise and unsustainable—or find new ways through bioengineering and precision farming to increase yields from existing farmland.

The latter is where opportunity lies for the Midwest economy. We have the talent, the resources and tradition as the breadbasket of the world to emerge quickly as the leader in new approaches to production-scale agriculture.

Most urbanites relate to disruption in agriculture largely through farm-to-table distribution or the vertical urban farming movement. This is rather a narrow view of agriculture. Let’s recognize where the big opportunity lies—production-scale agriculture, which already represents such a huge segment of the Midwest economy. Just a 1 percent increase  in production driven by innovation in sustainable precision farming, bioengineering and supply chain systems would trigger enormous change that would impact generations to come.

We are not, of course, starting from scratch. There are several startups at the forefront of this movement including FarmLogs, Agrible, Farmlead, 640 Labs and my own firm Aker, to name a few. The venture capital community is getting on board through initiatives such as Cultivian Sandbox, Serra Ventures and Tyson Foods’ new venture fund. State policies and organizations like Farm Illinois are also contributing to the growth and relevance of precision-farming technologies in production agriculture.

But if we are going to do for innovation in agriculture what Silicon Valley is to tech and New York is to media, we have to act now. The Midwest trails in early-stage investment capital in this industry. There must be more with a specific focus incubating production agriculture startups. That suggests the rest of the innovation ecosystem, especially the VC community, should ramp up before others emerge elsewhere. Rest assured that I’m not the only person involved in the future of agriculture who recognizes the potential for leadership in the growth of production-level agriculture. If we don’t seize it, another region will.

There is no greater need in the world than sustainable ways to feed the growing number of people on earth. There is no more logical place for Big Food research, entrepreneurial activity, systems development, to take place than right here.

Aker expands service to Arizona and Imperial Valley regions

Aker is pleased to announce general service availability across Arizona and Imperial Valley regions starting this spring. This expansion is possible because of our new agent and service partnership with BPG Designs with offices in Tempe, AZ and Carlsbad, CA.

“We are excited to partner with the BPG team as they have over 17 years of successful experience working with the most innovative technologies and demanding customers in the region,” said Orlando Saez, Co-Founder & CEO of Aker.

“BPG Designs has established roots in this community. Further we have significant mapping assets and a deep understanding of GIS, which we are ready to deploy for the benefit of our new agricultural clients. Aker brings agronomy insight to help convert images into value for large growers and retailers,” said Nikolas Smilovsky, Mapping Department Director.

“BPG Designs and Aker will bring a proven platform to the heart of vegetable growing region of the United States. Retailers and growers using Aker has added support for many crop types in this region so growers will be able to better protect their valuable crops, and make better decisions during the growing season,” said Cameron Perry, Agricultural Product Manager at BPG Designs.

Aker is an in-season crop monitoring and autonomous scouting solution for farming globally. Aker enables proactive observation and directed scouting to alert of adverse environmental conditions impacting crop health and yield.

To learn more about how Aker is helping retailers and grower’s bottom line, visit aker.ag for further information.

Aker wins the Clean Energy Trust Challenge

There are no words to describe winning, the validation of the hard work of your team, and gaining more enthusiastic supporters to achieve your purpose. Yesterday was a defining day for Aker as we continue to move the ball down the field to bring meaningful tools for faster adoption of precision agriculture practices globally. We are honored to receive a big spotlight and investment support from the Chicago Clean Energy Trust and their investors.

As the saying goes… focus on the journey, not the destination. Now, we take the next step to bring greater value to our customers and keep a lifelong commitment to reduce the human footprint on the planet. Big thanks for the CET and all your stakeholders. We are glad to be part of this community.

Can the Midwest own innovation in Big Agriculture?

As the innovation ecosystem in the Midwest expands with almost breathtaking speed, we are establishing ourselves as best-of-class in fields such as nanotechnology, robotics, digital and financial tech, material science and advanced manufacturing. I want to add one more area in which the Midwest can be recognized as the world’s leader in innovation. It is perhaps the most obvious and least recognized of all—agriculture.

This region has obvious advantages in terms of both tradition and the vibrancy of its innovation ecosystem. Leadership in agricultural innovation on a large scale is there for the taking. But we are not the only ones to know that. The race is on to become the AgTech home for Big Agriculture (or Big Food), with creation of an enormous number of jobs and value up for grabs.

As an entrepreneur, I look for opportunity. Big Food presents some of the best opportunities in the last few years. Here are some reasons why. The International Association of Agricultural Economics projects worldwide population will grow 35 percent by 2050, leading to a 59 to 98 percent increase in demand for food. There are two ways to meet this hunger. Cut down more forests to open more arable land—an approach that is both unwise and unsustainable—or find new ways through bioengineering and precision farming to increase yields from existing farmland. Without a doubt, the trends and impact have enormous implications for everyone.

The latter is where opportunity lies for the Midwest economy. We have the talent, the resources and tradition as the breadbasket of the world to emerge quickly as the leader in new approaches to production-scale agriculture.

I live in Chicago where most of my urbanites friends relate to disruption in agriculture largely through farm-to-table distribution or the vertical urban farming movement. This is rather a narrow view of agriculture. Let’s recognize where the big opportunity lies—production-scale agriculture, which already represents such a huge segment of the Midwest economy. Just a 1 percent increase in production driven by innovation in sustainable precision farming, bioengineering and supply chain systems would trigger enormous change that would impact generations to come. Others agree. Here are just a few people who see the big impact in the industry: David FriedbergMichael PollanNorman Borgaul.

But if we are going to do for innovation in agriculture what Silicon Valley is to tech and New York is to media, we must act now. The Midwest trails in early-stage investment capital in this industry. There must be more with a specific focus incubating production agriculture startups. That suggests the rest of the innovation ecosystem, especially the VC community, should ramp up before others emerge elsewhere. Rest assured that I’m not the only person involved in the future of agriculture who recognizes the potential for leadership in the growth of production-level agriculture. If we don’t seize it, another region will.

There is no greater need in the world than sustainable ways to feed the growing number of people on earth. There is no more logical place for Big Food research, entrepreneurial activity, systems development, to take place than right here.

GAIN Panel at Invest Midwest

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure to sit along-side 25 early stage investors in an Ag leader panel about agriculture technology trends, industry challenges and opportunities ahead. Moderating the panel was Claire Kinlaw, Director of Agriculture practice, LARTA Institute. The other panel participants were Pete Nelson, President, Ag Innovation Development Group; Blake Hurst, President, Missouri Farm Bureau; Garrott McClintock, Director of Operations, Oxbow Agriculture and Jude Conway, Executive Director, Ag Venture Alliance.

Not surprisingly, several eager investors asked the same question almost in unison: What industry disruptive technology do you anticipate or want to see next? Is there a fundamental big problem to solve?

The panel’s first reaction was a vote for incremental innovation rather than disruption. However, this did not stop each panel from offering their own big innovation ideas. Here are the top themes from the discussion:

  1. Targeted super herbicides for super-weeds (pigweed, waterhemp and other pesky weeds can really impact yield and there is no easy way to contain them)
  2. Better animal diagnostic tools
  3. Better vaccine, in particular for avian flu in swine
  4. Grower operating financing. The risk has to shift from a grower only into participation along the supply chain, especially if we want growers to have long term outlook to their business.
  5. Retrofit older tractor equipment with new automation technology. There is a glut of big iron sitting in many farms given the relaxed financing terms in recent years. New equipment sales are significantly down and now there are more opportunities for manufacturers to offer upgrades and accessories to drive incremental value to older models particularly in precision implement components and auto steer.

Garrott said it best… you can no longer rely on yield and soil maps to create more yield value. Learning from this panel reinforce that we are on the right track.

Efficient farming helps everyone win!

Brazil had the highest deforestation rate in the world. In the 1960s, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon became more widespread as policies were introduced to eliminate hunger and to pay off its debt obligations. Much of the new arable land in the region had poor soil, which made plantation-based agriculture unprofitable, especially for corn and soybean crops.

In February 2017, the Aker team visited one of the largest Ag retailers and grower network near Palmas in the Brazilian Para region to explore how high resolution imagery can help improve crop management efficiency, increase sales and drive higher yields across their grower network. We learned that Brazil has very talented agronomists with deep knowledge of soil and traditional fertilizers. Farm and field sizes are much larger than US average and so equipment and input logistics is a premium concern in these area. As first to plant crops go into the ground, there are big basic input deficiencies. Not unlike the Midwest, this region in Brazil has similar soil acidity problems which requires significant lime to raise the soil pH to optimal levels for local crop production.

Our focus was a large plantation with soybean crop near maturity. The most common in-season crop stress problems in Brazil are crop-munching caterpillars, aphids and soybean rust. Crop monitoring is largely done via manual field scouting, which is insufficient to adequately treat pests and diseases, especially in such a large area.

Aker was able to bring its drone service to scan and process – in 35 hours – over 3,500 acres across two local farms. Much of this region has no Internet access and Aker’s offline processing and mobile scouting capability was the only viable solution. Farm agronomist and local operations managers were impress with Aker’s image details and mobile directed crop scouting which guided them quickly to impacted crop zones particularly with affected caterpillar infestation, soil erosion from sandy soils and other fertility issues. Growers can now use and improve their variable seeding prescription and enhance their productivity for crop scouting across variable planting and maturity date fields which are affected by a variety of environmental issues.

Needless to say, improving the input to yield ratio supported by imagery will lead to increased efficiency and profitable farming, which will stimulate forest preservation.

We are eager to see what the future brings as Brazil continues to embrace precision farming and better crop monitoring practices.

Lets connect! Send your questions to info@54.144.14.82 or call (507) 893-4545.