Recapturing Ag Profitability with Imagery and AI

Supercomputer smarts and super-human vision give growers and crop advisers the best shot at success in a tough economy


Modern technology has always been the grower’s best friend. From the first plow to mechanization to the hybrid dwarf wheat of the Green Revolution, revolutionary advances in agriculture have developed at critical times over the centuries to prevent disaster. In the coming post-COVID economy, many are wondering whether economic collapse is on the horizon, and, if so, is there a technology that can come to the rescue?


The Digital Revolution in agriculture is accelerating in the face of the present challenge, and perhaps the most exciting developments are taking place right now in the field of computer vision, which promises to lift agriculture to new heights.


Turbocharging productivity with AI


Computer vision refers to a form of artificial intelligence that allows machines to understand and analyze visual data. Computer vision is about more than just seeing a problem; it’s also about understanding the problem. The combination of supercomputer smarts and super-human vision is what translates raw data into the insight that will drive yields higher, with greater efficiencies to keep farming sustainable for decades to come.


Computer vision works by teaching machine learning to recognize visual patterns. By scanning professionally annotated, ultra high-resolution aerial imagery, the system learns the tell-tale signs of various types of stress. Feed that computer vision system with imagery from fields throughout the season, and the system will “see” those warning signs. It will recognize, for example, nutrition deficiency. It will point out the beginnings of pest infestation. It will find problems in the near-infrared spectrum that can’t be seen by human eyes.


Detecting problems early means growers can take action in time to save the crop. It also allows for adjusting growing techniques to suit fast-changing conditions, resulting in higher yields.


Computer change is a fundamental change for agriculture


Growers are already familiar with digital data gathering, with sensors and equipment deployed to boost efficiency. But scouting hasn’t kept up with the times, and that’s especially true for crop advisers responsible for thousands of acres in a region. They can’t effectively walk all of their fields, all season long. In fact, during a pandemic, doing so would introduce unnecessary safety risks.


Computer vision offers a safer and smarter alternative. Instead of relying solely on the human eye, computer vision technology supplements the grower’s expert eye with satellites, drones, and aerial photography. These high-tech tools can see beyond the visible spectrum to notice trouble long before it’s visible to the grower. The insight from AI provides the critical early warning that allows action to save the crop.


IntelinAir is leading the charge on computer vision in agriculture


Computer vision powers many exciting new technologies, like self-driving cars, but less work has been done applying it to agriculture. IntelinAir recognized its potential early on and has taken the lead in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with computer vision in ag.


AgMRI 3.0 demonstrates how advanced analytics and high-resolution imagery can produce great results. During the early season, for example, our tool features enhanced emergence mapping that identifies reduced crop emergence. Color-coded maps pinpoint areas of concern that would be invisible to the grower or crop adviser walking through the field. Armed with this enhanced understanding of what’s happening in the field, growers can make timelier — and more effective — replant decisions.


As the season progresses, time-lapse images and a side-by-side comparison view that make it easier for growers and advisers to visualize crop performance. Was the herbicide or pesticide application successful? Just take a look at the before and after images, and the answer will be immediately apparent.


It’s a tool that’s meant to be as easy to use as it is powerful, providing an insightful view of field conditions throughout the season. It’s the key to better decision making, which results in improved yields and enhanced profitability.


Success in the post-COVID world will mean working under new constraints, with safety and long-term sustainability taking center stage. Growers and agronomists don’t need to tackle these challenges on their own. They can take advantage of computer vision, which adds the power of a supercomputer’s super-vision to their team. It’s an advantage so powerful, it’s downright unfair.


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