Tech Journal - November 2017

November 6, 2017 01:12 PM
 
Farmers Edge Satellite Image

Farmers Edge Increases Satellite Image Frequency

By partnering with Planet, an aerospace and data analytics company, Farmers Edge will offer satellite images more frequently—every one to three days. Planet says they have the highest number of available satellites, which means even with potential cloud cover farmers should still receive images frequently and at a high enough resolution to identify potential issues. Farmers Edge will combine the satellite images with analytics software to assist farmers during the growing season.

“What we’re finding is with higher resolution and frequency we can ID where there is insect damage in crops’ early stages, which could tell farmers if they need to replant,” says Wade Barnes, president and CEO of Farmers Edge. “We can also identify fertilizer stripping, which can be used to adjust fertilizer application later and save yield.”

Farmers Edge costs $2 to $4.50 per acre depending on the level of service. For more details, visit www.farmersedge.ca.

Free On-Site Image Stitching

The OpenDroneMap project and Sentera are collaborating to bring free, local image stitching to AgVault users in time for the 2018 growing season. Sentera will continue to offer its commercial cloud-based stitching products for multispectral data, large data-sets or customers who prefer not to use local stitching. OpenDroneMap creates fully-stitched image mosaics using data from Sentera’s sensors, including visual-band, normalized difference vegetation index and normalized difference red edge imagery. The process is automatically managed from within the AgVault desktop application. For more information, visit info.sentera.com/agvault-free-stitching or http://opendronemap.org.

Blockchains Can Be Strongest Link in Food Chain

Do you know what blockchains are? No, you don’t put them on tires to improve traction, or use them to pull your truck out of the mud. You can’t see, smell or taste blockchains, unless you’re a computer.

Simply put, blockchains are shared, traceable and transparent ledgers for record keeping. They capture information for each transaction in a supply chain to better understand what’s happening in the transactions.

It seems a little out there for most farmers, but blockchains could transform the security, safety and efficiency of the food system.

“As farmers we have not typically liked people to know, for example, where our livestock come from,” says Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer and vice president of corporate accounts at Alltech. “At the same time, when there is a disease outbreak we want to be able to trace it back.”

Blockchain technology can enhance security while protecting the players, he adds.

Connolly expresses the potential for blockchain technology by pointing to Walmart, who rolled out the technology in China and was impressed by its potential enough to bring it to the U.S. and other areas of the world where it does business. If Walmart is successful with the technology, other retailers will follow.

“Traceability is a fundamental part of our future. Recapturing the confidence of consumers is important, and blockchain is a technology that allows us to do so in a manner that allows us to be comfortable in knowing we are not giving all of our secrets and not trading away our margins to the food retailer,” Connolly says.

Other industries use blockchain technology, says Michael Boehlje, an economics professor at Purdue University. The diamond industry, for example, uses the technology to trace the whereabouts and authenticity of diamonds and verify the practices used to harvest the gems. “This whole issue of traceability and food safety will be the biggest impact blockchains have on the agriculture sector.”

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