What we learned in 2016 will help generations of growers

The digital transformation in agriculture is bringing new frontiers of possibilities and efficiency. In our first year of service, we collected thousands of acres in over hundreds of fields.

Our agronomists went to work early in the season as they reviewed every single image for high impact financial threats, which is a core part of our service. To attempt to find relevant environmental variability, our team relies on more than just imagery as we load SSURGO soil type maps, customer provided as-planted and as-sprayed maps, elevation maps and other indications to ensure that we can suggest areas that matter for in-season action.

We found 12% of all acres were impacted by a range of fertility, disease or equipment issues.

As a diagnostic tool, we need to work hand in hand with our customer to help mitigate high impact issues. We had some hits and misses as customers scouted the fields with our directed scouting recommendations. We interviewed many Ag retailers and consultants to learn how our findings translated into in-season action and how else they plan to use our results. What we learn amazed both our customers and us, with some big hits.

First, farmers and agronomists largely rely on soil maps and yield to make crop management decisions. For in-season management, current options like satellite imagery cannot be used to ground truth fields. Other options like manned aerial imagery and some UAV without agronomy review largely ends up in a computer folder waiting for yield data for crop management analysis and programming for next season.

Efficient crop management, especially using precision practices, requires going beyond yield, soil grid tests, as-planted and as spray maps. It’s difficult to rely on just these indicators to discriminate in-season treatments and seed selection yield variability, that leads to optimal yield.

All of our customers highlighted that high resolution imagery tells the “why” story which can help improve their traditional crop programming practices while bringing immediate in-season value primarily to support side-dress nitrogen recommendation, fungicide and post-emergence herbicide/insecticide treatments when it matters the most.

We realized over $1.3M in yield value created to our customers or about 5x return on the cost of the service.

We are thrilled that our customers realized over $1.3M in value from our service in 2016 by addressing direct in-season yield limiting issues and indirect post-season programming improvements from our service. By spending $4.50 per acre in our service, growers realized a $23.58/acre for corn and $20.06/acre for soybeans in yield value for the season. This represents about a 5x return on grower investment. It was a healthy crop season for most growers and fields were not significantly affected by mold or aphids this season where the gains could have been greater. This is a big return for early adopter customers of our service and we can’t wait to put more money in their pockets next season and beyond!

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

Aker launches innovative crop monitoring service exclusively for Ag retailers in the Midwest

Leading Edge Technologies, Inc., a leading retailer of enterprise UAVs for Agriculture in the Midwest announced the introduction of Aker, it’s flagship smart-directed crop monitoring service.

“Especially in tough economic times, growers and retailers are seeking creative approaches to align crop inputs with the best opportunity for results and yield return.”, states Todd Golly, co-founder and COO of Aker. Todd is also owner of Golly farms, a top tier grower in Minnesota.

Aker deploys teams within local areas to collect high-resolution imagery, classify fields and identify high-impact zones. Results are loaded overnight into a mobile app to help scouts navigate to the right problem areas in the field.

“We leverage technology to empower people. Our technology identifies field stress areas where we then direct customers to ground truth diseases and other plant health issues.”, states Orlando Saez, co-founder and CEO of Aker.

Unlike other services using manned aircraft or satellite data collection, Aker uses UAVs with the highest resolution multi-spectral sensors in the market today and is available to customers starting at just 120 acres.

“This service works amazingly well to find plant health issues and it helps our scouts to quickly walk to the effected areas compared to random field scouting. This is a big value to our growers while is also helps our scouts and agronomist be more productive.”, says Randy Main, owner of Main Fertilizer a Minnesota/Iowa independent retailer and Aker customer.

“We are pleased with the accuracy of our service and ability to scale across the country. We have been integrating technologies and processes for the last three (3) years and conducted tests across 100,000 acres in the USA and Latin America. We have in-house agronomists who can interpret imagery to deliver real value to our customers.”, states Orlando Saez. Aker delivers a turnkey service with no upfront cost, no equipment necessary and results are guaranteed.

Aker service is available now across the Midwest. The company has offices in Winnebago, MN and Chicago, IL and has an impressive team with extensive grower, agronomy, Ag retailer and technology experience.

For more information about this topic, please call Media Relations at (507) 893-4545, or email rtripathi@ or visit www.aker.ag.