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Spensa Technologies Z Trap insect trap
SUPER SENSOR: This insect trap, which is connected to the cloud for sharing information, is just one tool from Spensa Technologies that helps farmers better manage fields. The firm recently announced a new agreement with TerrAvion to add aerial imagery to its service.

Advanced tech service adds aerial imagery

Managing for a range of pests will be easier for scouts and farmers looking to spot trouble early.

For many, Spensa Technologies might be most familiar through the innovative traps the firm developed to measure and analyze insect populations. The web-enabled tool can actually determine the target pests you’re monitoring for, and provide accurate counts to alert you when you hit economic threshold levels to treat.

But the firm actually is diversified within the world of precision ag, with a focus on managing and monitoring weeds, insects and diseases. The company has an extensive scouting product — the Spensa Agronomic Platform, which provides a range of management functions in a single tool. The company is expanding its offering in a new partnership with aerial imagery company TerrAvion.

Spensa AP users will have access to aerial imagery that can be pulled into the system from TerrAvion’s OverView imagery delivery platform.

“We work across the whole pest spectrum,” says Kim Nicholson, vice president of business development for Spensa. “Aerial imagery can give you an overhead look at the field, and we found that a lot of customers are interested in scouting over imagery.”

TerrAvion, a California startup, uses airplanes to capture high-resolution imagery, which it can process in 24 hours. The firm also captures thermal maps for a field, which can be indicative of trouble beyond what you might see in traditionally used normalized difference vegetation index maps, Nicholson says.

Adding aerial imagery builds on the Spensa business model, which Nicholson explains involves proprietary sensors, data collection and data science to make cropping decisions. “At Spensa, we really aren’t believers you can automate agriculture,” she says. “There’s an art to our science still. And we’re here to augment the skills of that trusted adviser.”

The imagery move
It was possible, before adding TerrAvion to the system, for Spensa users to put in aerial imagery; however, the process is laborious given the various types of imagery available. With this new partnership, the user simply requests the image through the Spensa application, and your field’s imagery appears.

“Spensa AP includes precision dispatch, too,” Nicholson explains. “If I’m at my desk looking at a field, and I see a problem I want to investigate, I can mark the place I want to go in that field — and either I can go look at it or dispatch another person to the location using the app.”

There are several customers using Spensa tools who haven’t done much with imagery, and this new arrangement gives them that chance. “It is a good introduction to using imagery, and it’s low-risk,” she says. “They can order a few fields to try out imagery. While many use imagery in other ways, this is a way to explore new uses.”

Spensa charges a user fee for its service, and then other services are added as required by the user for a per-acre fee. That’s how the aerial imagery from TerrAvion will be used. “Through this partnership, we are able to provide our customers with ready-to-use imagery, so they can stay informed during the most critical stages of the season, and find and resolve any discrepancies before operations are affected.”

You can learn more about the system by visiting

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