Growers looking for more flexible, independent ways to analyze their precision ag data from drones might want to check out the latest from PrecisionHawk.
In June, the North Carolina company launched its Algorithm Marketplace, which is an app store for drone users. Instead of relying on an agronomist to examine images and other data collected by drone, growers can now download their own drone’s data and run it through relevant apps of their choice to get real-time information on their fields—whenever they want.
“Before the Algorithm Marketplace, PrecisionHawk was providing 2D and 3D outputs that could be analyzed visually or by a remote sensing specialist or agronomist,” says Lia Reich, senior communications director with PrecisionHawk. “We were creating in-house algorithms and doing specific analysis for our enterprise-level clients, but now we are opening that analysis solution in an automated capacity for everyone, which will allow our clients to make more accurate and informed decisions faster."
(The company also hopes to grow the number of apps offered by partnering with universities, researchers, and other groups.)
To participate, growers will need a UAV, of course, and an account with PrecisionHawk’s DataMapper cloud-based storage system, which provides the data to the apps.
DataMapper currently accepts data from PrecisionHawk and Sensefly UAVs, but the program will begin working with the popular DJI drones later this month, with plans to extend to all UAV platforms by the end of the year.
“We don't expect people to only use the PrecisionHawk hardware-- while many in agriculture do--but every user will need a streamline solution for achieving actionable data outputs regardless of their platform,” Reich says.
Once the UAV data is in a grower’s DataMapper account, the farmer can select what apps to use for analysis, getting more detail on plant counts, plant heights, nitrogen content, and more. With those results in hand, producers should be able to make better choices about their crops along the way.
“Many of the decisions that farmers make will need to be in-season decisions, which is why UAV technology is such a great tool because it’s so responsive,” Reich says. “For us to create value for a farmer, we have to optimize yield and decrease inputs and to do that, as an industry, we need to develop software tools that can support actionable decision-making.”
Costs will vary based on the grower and the amount of data collected, but there are several components. DataMapper accounts range from free from $95 per month, depending on the amount of storage. Currently, the apps are typically priced at $100 for an annual subscription, plus $15 per report, but as the library of algorithms grows, DataMapper will be offering crop-specific algorithm packages, which will include all of the applicable algorithms for that crop at a flat fee, based on the value of the crop.
What might all those pieces add up to for a farmer with 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans? About $5 per acre total for the data processing, storage and crop algorithm package offering guidance on replanting, fertilizer deficiencies, weed and disease pressure, and estimated yields.
“The Algorithm Marketplace is an extremely cost-effective solution for farmers adopting UAV technology,” Reich says.