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Various technologies make remote scouting a reality.

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

September 25, 2019

2 Min Read
various weeds in soybeans
IDENTIFY WEEDS FROM AFAR: Could you describe all these weeds to someone over the phone so they could identify them? FaceTime or a picture sent by text or email makes it possible.

When you’re in charge of an entire Midwest state for your company, that’s a lot of territory to cover. Mike Koenigs finds he can’t be everywhere at once, especially in a season like 2019 with short planting and spraying windows. He’s using technology to help him assist more people in a shorter amount of time.

“Most people have smartphones today, and newer models have very good cameras,” says Keonigs, market development specialist for Corteva Agriscience in Illinois. His job is to help both farmers and retail dealers plan such things as weed control programs and assist them with challenges.

This season he found that if someone was having trouble identifying a weed and he couldn’t physically get there to assist, the person could snap a picture and text or email it to him. In some cases, a farmer or retailer could even shoot a short video to give a better feel for the area within a field and send that.

“Sometimes we used FaceTime on our smartphones so I could see what they were trying to describe,” Koenigs says. “FaceTime is a real plus if it’s a weed or problem which is hard to identify, and where different angles might give a better view. I can ask someone to move the phone one way or the other, and often get an angle which helps give me a better picture of what I’m looking at, even though they’re in the field and I’m several counties or more away, in my office.”

Technology is under development that will use artificial intelligence to operate software on a phone or tablet that can identify weeds on the spot in the field. Until these tools are ready for prime time, Koenigs believes using smartphone technology to get another set of eyes on a weed, no matter where it is located, is a good alternative.

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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