In 2020, Aker Technologies launched their new technology, TrueCause, capable of capturing field knowledge above AND below the canopy. The technology is a new agriculture-specialized drone equipped with environmental sensors that automates scouting of crop fields. Aker provided TrueCause service to around 100 fields of corn, soybean, and cotton to evaluate on-farm product performance.
“Aker has been a BASF field remote sensing service provider for several years, and have challenged us to think bigger with their advancement in field sensing technology,” says Josh Miller, Technical Market Manager for Plant Health, BASF.
Aker’s unique automation of under-the-canopy field diagnostics is an industry first, which Aker believes will help ag retailers and supplier partners to expand the affordability of a digital precision program and in-field recommendations.
“Adding pre-season crop imagery that includes topography and soil color correlated to organic matter will substantially help to refine management zones over previously available methods,” says Steve Pitstick, Illinois farmer and Vice-Chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association.
This year, Aker is retrofitting its fleet of pilots with TrueCause technology and expanding their service availability nationwide. Part of this year’s deployment includes a new soil modeling algorithm using TrueCause or any RGB drone imagery. Using TrueCause high-resolution drone imagery, Aker processes elevation before discriminating soil color and residue. This process leads to a low-cost, accurate and scalable solution to create and improve management zones based on in-field soil variation. The zone maps are delivered in a format that growers, scouts, and agronomists can easily visualize and improve their prescription recommendations.
These new services will allow for more effective variable rate seed, variable rate fertilizer, and variable rate irrigation, and are examples of how Aker is constantly innovating to help growers make better input decisions.