Agriculture 2.0, data farming, digitalising agriculture. Whatever you see it being called; the spread of data in farming is very much the zeitgeist at the moment. Investors are after a piece of this revolution and start-ups are raising money as fast as they can. But who will survive? We have seen plenty of start-ups from outside agriculture coming and going. Very smart people from MIT or NASA but digitalising Agriculture has not been as easy as they thought. There is a balance required. You cannot revolutionise an industry entirely from the outside, there is a lack of understanding of the culture and the incredibly complex biological systems in which we work. Neither can an industry revolutionise itself without looking outside. External eyes see things that we do not and bring disciplines that we do not have.

These have been guiding concepts in the way that we, as precision farming specialists SoilEssentials has been built. The team are a mix of people from inside and outside the agricultural sector. However, we base all our activity on farms and every member of the team touches dirt now and then. It is so vital for us all to keep grounded. The team is approaching 30 people now (and recruiting at the moment). Providing the complete precision farming solution through the farming year, SoilEssentials offer products and services pertinent to each part of the cycle. Our agronomy team provides soil sampling, area measuring and a drone flying service, the machine control team (Trimble authorised dealer status for Northern UK) travel across the country installing, calibrating, problem-solving and supporting customers with a full range of guidance and steering systems. Working alongside all this activity are the projects – always challenging ourselves and pursuing the next innovation, we are partnered in several R&D projects and excited to be able to bring to the marketplace new products and services to push the boundaries in precision farming.

So, what’s new in the precision farming landscape? We launched our latest innovation KORE last year. The in-house software development team are continually evolving this online precision farming toolbox – with customers both here in the UK and internationally. KORE gives farmers, agronomists and farming companies the opportunity to manage their land more effectively using gathered data from multiple sources, through an ever-expanding suite of apps. Towards the end of last year we also started a series of KORE workshops, introducing local farmers to the service, ready to benefit at the start of the new season.

There’s an array on offer and this is just a snapshot of what KORE offers through its simple, user-friendly dashboard. It gives you the ability to view satellite imagery and UAV (drone) imagery uploads, crop scouting tools, Variable Rate mapping, yield maps, and in-field problems can be geo-referenced and recorded. For crop scouting, you can use low cost, off-the-shelf drones to take high resolution crop imagery – agronomists, farmers and field staff can fly and upload imagery themselves. You don’t need to be a specialist! Or we can provide this service for you at key points through the growing season. Plant counting is then a viable and valuable option to identify and count individual plants from potatoes, sugar beet, vegetables etc. Crop cover assessment from a drone identifies and counts the percentage of ground or canopy cover. KORE is further complemented with a mobile app, giving easy access to view satellite and UAV imagery ‘in-field’ and walk directly to problem areas.

Sales Director Robert Ramsay says ‘SoilEssentials is in a fascinating place. We continue to expand and are being courted because we are unique in our combination of experiences. We are, as far as I know, the only company that can do such high tech work from such a dirty boots and grounded position. We have the farmers work ethics combined with the vision and ambition of a Californian start up. 2019 looks to be an exciting year for us.’

The wider accessibility and affordability of Earth Observation data gave way to the initial concept for KORE, partnering with Deimos Space UK and supported by the European Space Agency has allowed this dream and vision to become reality. With such a rapid, changing environment and KORE always evolving, this is just the beginning.

If you are interested in joining one of our free KORE workshops please contact Alison Easson on 01356 650459 / email: alison@soilessentials.com

To see more about KORE, go to: www.koresolution.com

 

18 February 2019 News

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Peter Chapman, South Redbog Farm
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