Scouting fields to help with customer service

Farm Forum

Zack Sumner worked as an intern for North Central Farmer’s Elevator last summer. At the Oahe Farm Show, he explained that as part of the services for North Central, the company uses Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to do research on fields. The agronomists review the video and photos taken by the Phantom II that is outfitted with a GoPro camera to evaluate plant growth and the effect that chemicals have on the plants. “We see how things are growing from the air rather than walking the lengths of the fields,” Sumner said. He said it is especially useful for the precision ag guys to gauge weed control in fields.

A 20-minute flight time allows the scouting of many acres and documents any trials being conducted on research plots. Signs at the end of the fields help identify the plots, showing growth and impact of different of chemicals. Putting the photos side by side provides a good look at the progression. The company made use of the UAVs across their trade area from North Dakota to the Miller, Highmore and Harrold areas.

The UAVs connect to a screen which is controlled with a handle for the 1080 HD video and photos of the crops.

Sumner said North Central uses this information for research. Eventually, farmers with large acreages will probably purchase drones to check their fields.

With the UAV, the company has a greater capability to document any foliar developments throughout the season. With this technology, it helps growers make educated decisions for their farmers. A dedicated crew focuses specifically on product research and evaluation. This allows NCFE agronomists to provide customer service while also gaining information necessary to make sound recommendations.

Call 605-426-6021 for more information.