In Granular’s Deal with Planet, Satellite Images Deliver Peace of Mind

Gorham

If only software from precision agriculture companies was more like Facebook or Google, no one in North America would be talking about how reluctant farmers are to use it.

Sid Gorham, chief executive and co-founder of Granular, explains how regular use of consumer sites like these has raised the bar for business software companies – including his own.

“People know what great software looks like, so they expect the same for something they’re paying for in their business.” It’s why DowDuPont’s Granular focuses so heavily on making its products easier to use, and also why it signed a deal earlier this month with aerospace and data analytics company Planet.

“(Software) needs to get dramatically easier for farmers, because right now they are frustrated by the complexity and time-consuming nature of many products in the market, so we’re very focused on that at Granular: How do I make it easier to buy, learn, and easier to use every day, and be more flexible so it fits into farms of all sizes and more crop mixes.”

Planet operates the world’s largest fleet of satellites and serves up daily satellite images of a farmer’s fields directly to his or her phone. Granular subscribed to the service last year to strong user feedback, and has expanded the partnership to a three-year agreement under which it will directly license and integrate Planet’s daily feed of satellite imagery into its farm-management software, beginning with its Encirca Services line.

Planet, which counts the U.S. government as a key customer, bumped up the number of its satellites last year and improved the frequency of images delivered – meaning more chances of cloud-free pictures – which prompted Granular to ink the longer-term commitment, Gorham explains.

“If you have a big farm to scout and are driving around the edge of the fields, it’s time-consuming, and you can’t always see what’s really going on. Walking out in the middle of fields in August is no fun – there are only so many acres you can cover. But if you’ve got a set of satellites taking pictures from above every day, it’s a pretty handy tool to be able to figure out what’s going on.”

The idea, Gorham says, is to not just inundate the farmer with a sea of information he has next to no time to digest, but rather tell the farmer what to do with that information.

The satellite imagery from Planet isn’t quite writing prescriptions – but it is a step in that direction. It will red-flag specific areas of a field that show a crop growing more slowly or less robustly than others, which could indicate pest or disease pressure, or an issue with irrigation.

“This is really just a scalable, easy way to stay on top of your operation. It’s true that everybody in the industry is trying to put more diagnostic power in (software) … Planet gives the farmer a head start in figuring it out and helps them prioritize a spot in a field – ‘Hey, this red spot is potentially a more significant issue, and you should consider this type of intervention.’”

The image will show variation both within a field and across fields and over time in the crop’s health, turning a flat picture into an analysis.

Granular, he says, will continue to develop and incorporate Planet imagery into its Encirca portfolio, which is focused on the agronomy side, but it also looks to integrate it into the more business-side-oriented software like AcreValue, which is aimed at the farmland real estate market.

Because satellite images translate so well, Granular intends to use it as its first product to launch in new geographies, including Brazil and other markets later in 2018. Language differences aside, “U.S., Brazilian, Russian farmers would all use it the same way and derive the same type of value from it, so it’s a really nice offering for us to use to enter new markets,” he says.

“Satellite imagery is something that we will continue to deliver a really simple, compelling, intuitive value proposition around. Farmers already scout their fields; they are constantly trying to assess how a crop is doing and what it needs. This is really just a better way to do that.”

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Americas Stories
PA-Accelerator-logo
AmericasBuilding Trust is Key Selling Point for Agtegra Agronomist
April 10, 2018
Agtegra Cooperative’s Andrew Kappes has two pieces of advice for precision farming-focused ag service providers: Take a team-first approach, and Read More
Aerial-View-of-SAFRA
AmericasDigital Agriculture: The Hottest Theme of 2018 in Brazil
April 2, 2018
The agricultural fair circuit in Brazil has begun and the central theme thus far has been digital agriculture. With an Read More
AmericasFBN Announces Canadian Expansion, Dealer Acquisition
March 29, 2018
Farmers Business Network (FBN) today announced its international expansion into Canada for the 2018 growing season, and the acquisition of Read More
Farmer-Soybean-field
AmericasWillness: Building VRA Fertility Zones on Plant Biomass Alone is Short-Sighted
March 29, 2018
I posed a question in a twitter poll in order to raise awareness of how measurements of biomass from remote Read More
Trending Articles
Farm-Storm-Clouds-Photo-Eden-Hills
Data ManagementThe Precipitation Problem in Agriculture
April 17, 2018
Precipitation is arguably the most important agricultural weather parameter, yet it is the most difficult variable to precisely measure. For Read More
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Services
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
CROO Robotics’ automated strawberry harvester
Robotics/Labor SaversSpecialty Crops: Get in Gear Now for Agriculture’s Robotic Revolution
April 11, 2018
While the immigration debate rages on in Washington, DC, with little chance for reform in sight, the uncertain labor picture Read More
InSiteDCM
Business ManagementDelivering on Ag Data Value
April 3, 2018
Bruce Baier is another deeply experienced precision agriculture manager who survived the early years of ag technology while riding the Read More
University-of-Georgia-photo-credit-USDA
Business Management25 Best Colleges for Precision Agriculture
March 21, 2018
Choosing the right college is a process. It’s one that I’m just now embarking on with my teenage daughter. Long Read More
Farmer-tablet
Decision Support SoftwareOpinion: The Missing Link in Precision Agriculture
March 15, 2018
The agtech boom over the last two years is indeed astonishing. Farmers are becoming more open to new, emerging technologies Read More
Latest News
Finalists-teams-Syngenta-Crop-Challenge-in-Analytics
Data ManagementData-Driven Strategies and Machine Learning Shaping the…
April 26, 2018
Last week I attended the 2018 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research in Baltimore, MD. Among the activities Read More
Sentera-FieldAgent
Industry NewsSentera, The Climate Corp. Partner to Enhance Agronomic…
April 24, 2018
Climate FieldView customers can now enjoy seamless integration of Sentera FieldAgent on-field sensor and analytics products with FieldView, as well Read More
Field Sprayer
Sensors/IoTHere’s What’s Working with the Internet of Things ̷…
April 24, 2018
With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), we are now seeing farmers use more wireless technologies to increase Read More
Case-Header-2
Industry NewsAustralian Company Offers On Combine Analysis Technolog…
April 24, 2018
Next Instruments is an Australian manufacturer of instrumentation for the grains and food industries. Over the last 5 years Next Read More
corn field
Industry NewsNutrient Ag Solutions Launching New Digital Farming Pla…
April 24, 2018
Nutrien’s retail division – soon to be rebranded as Nutrien Ag Solutions – has announced the launch of a new Read More
Industry NewsClimate Corp Announces 5 New FieldView Integrations
April 23, 2018
The Climate Corporation announced the addition of five industry-leading partners to The Climate Corporation’s Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform. The Read More
Laura_Crook_WinterWheat_Blackgrass_PrecisionAg
Industry NewsKansas Software Outfit Ag Developer Announces agX Integ…
April 23, 2018
Ag Developer, a Kansas based software development company, is simplifying grower/advisor communications by connecting to the agX Platform, according to Read More
field_in_back_1000_wd-featured-image
Industry NewsAyrstone Introduces High-Speed WiFi System for Farms
April 20, 2018
WiFi has become a necessity, and a proliferation of new WiFi devices have come to market for urban homes and Read More
Indian-Agriculture
AsiaIndian IoT Platform for Pre and Post Harvest Raises See…
April 19, 2018
Indian startup AgNext has raised an undisclosed seed round led by India-focused Agtech VC Omnivore Partners along with Singaporean angel Read More
Bayer-Forward-Farming
Industry NewsMaryland Farm Opens as Hub of Learning about Sustainabl…
April 19, 2018
Fourth-generation Maryland farmer Trey Hill measures the success of his operation not just by how many bushels of corn, soybeans, Read More
THRIVE
Industry NewsAgritech Startup Backers Announce New Corporate Partner…
April 18, 2018
Entering its fourth year, the THRIVE Venture & Innovation platform announced today the nine finalists and investment in its spring Read More
computer-in-field
EventsFinding Our Way in the Business of Precision Agricultur…
April 17, 2018
Service providers are the essential link between precision agriculture products and practices and the farmers who are increasingly relying on Read More
Farm-Storm-Clouds-Photo-Eden-Hills
Data ManagementThe Precipitation Problem in Agriculture
April 17, 2018
Precipitation is arguably the most important agricultural weather parameter, yet it is the most difficult variable to precisely measure. For Read More
Digital-Farming
Business Management7 Factors That Could Make or Break Digital Farming
April 13, 2018
Digital farming is the new technology genie – a genie that is now out of the bottle and cannot be Read More
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Serv…
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
Facebook-phone
Data ManagementWhat Lessons Can the Ag Industry Learn from the Faceboo…
April 12, 2018
Today, a seemingly endless amount of ag data flows from growers’ fields into a host of technology platforms. It is Read More
DronesWhen High Value Crops Meet Inaccessible Areas: How Dron…
April 12, 2018
Avocados are one of the few crops in Chile that can economically be commercially cultivated on hills. On one hand Read More
Almond-trees-blooming
Sensors/IoTWhy Virtual Sensors Could Save California’s At-Ri…
April 12, 2018
To say that the Golden State can lay claim to the title of king of almonds might be an understatement. Read More