The ag tech world is constantly evolving these days, with startups and established companies finding new ways to work together. And those digital tools have increasing value if conditions on the farm are out of the norm.
Recently, Nutrien Ag Solutions and BASF announced they would enter into a digital collaboration aimed at giving customers easier access to new tech. As part of the collaboration, BASF’s xarvio Scouting application will be offered on the Nutrien Ag Solutions customer portal.
“[The news] is an indication that Nutrien sees value in the scouting app and our image recognition technology,” says David Gray, head of commercial operations, U.S., xarvio. “From the farmer’s standpoint, Nutrien is a large input provider with agronomic experience; it’s an organization with significant magnitude.”
The scouting tool uses image recognition and machine learning to help users — either farmers or scouts — easily recognize weeds (even at a very early stage) or crop disease. Some diseases are difficult to distinguish from others at early onset, but the xarvio Scouting app can provide guidance. Usually, the advice will show a "strength" of the identification, noting that the app is XX% sure (the figure can range from 55% to 99%) that’s what it’s seeing. The higher the number, the greater the confidence a user has. And as users agree with the findings, those images go into a master database that makes the system even smarter.
The Nutrien relationship is part of what’s needed these days in agriculture, according to Paul Rea, senior vice president, BASF Agricultural Solutions North America. In a media announcement for the new relationship, Rea noted that “in a marketplace that is extremely complex, collaboration will be critical to providing innovative solutions to meet the needs of growers. Xarvio Digital Farming Solutions gives growers more control of their fields, and the confidence to make the right choices at the right time for better yields.”
Nutrien Ag Solutions is building an open digital ecosystem, leveraging agronomic data science and leading-edge technology to help growers achieve the best possible outcomes.
Dealing with #plant19
The 2019 planting year may be a time for these ag tech tools to shine. Gray notes that the xarvio Field Manager tool, an added app the company offers, can help farmers better determine key treatment factors for individual fields. “With those staggered planting dates, farmers are going to have a compressed season,” Gray says. “The Field Manager tool tracks disease pressure for each field based on key factors.”
The tool, designed right now for wheat and corn, will add soybeans in 2020, Gray says. The system uses growth-stage models and disease models to help growers make decisions. He explains that the system uses five pieces of information — planting date, seed variety, tillage practice, last year’s crop and weather — to help growers make decisions.
The crop models built into the system can be used on a field-by-field basis to help guide decisions. If a specific corn hybrid is susceptible to gray leaf spot and conditions are right, the app can alert users to the problem as it arises. Corn planted weeks apart may experience disease at different times, and tracking that by hand this season would be difficult. Gray says the Field Management tool can help.
“The app gives them disease status — shows that disease pressure could be increasing in a field, and you can scout to verify that yourself,” he says. “The system uses disease models, the [farmer’s field] variables, plus detailed weather information to determine the potential for disease outbreaks.”
He adds that these are field-specific models designed to be much more accurate that regional predictions.
You can learn more about xarvio, visit xarvio.com.