What 1 Second In the Cab Can Teach You

04:18AM May 20, 2014
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 Farmers who use precision ag often claim to "farm by the foot." But Scott Robinson has envisioned measuring technology in a different way: farming by the second.

Robinson’s company, FarmLink, deploys technology that uses collected harvest data and sorts it into 150-square-foot microfields, approximately the footprint (5’ x 30’) that a combine harvests per second. Those microfields are then matched and benchmarked against FarmLink’s database of 500M other microfields with its TrueHarvest Benchmark product.

"It’s like a test plot, only we have millions of them," Robinson says. "It’s a really big sample that’s really well distributed."

During the benchmarking process, an algorithm neutralizes non-variable inputs over which the farmer doesn’t have control – think heat units, rainfall, etc. – and each microfield is assigned a percentile based on its yield performance ranked against other microfields that have similar conditions.

"We think of it like a portfolio," Robinson says. "It’s a range of assets you have that can be ranked and benchmarked based on how they perform."

When farmers shift their focus from studying yields to improving percentile performance, the profit potential is encouraging, Robinson says. If corn and soybean farmers could move underperforming microfields to the 75% percentile, it could add as much as $11 billion in additional revenue, he says.

Future TrueHarvest tools will allow farmers to use the benchmark information to make better informed decisions about inputs, Robinson adds.

"We’re not the farmer," he says. "We won’t tell you what to do. We’re just making tools that will help you."

This video further describes how FarmLink works: