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When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Data

“To me, sometimes this gets lost with the newer thinking out there. It’s not just about your new algorithm or your new business; there needs to be some connection back to the root of everything in agriculture and that still is the farmer,” he tells PrecisionAg at the 2022 VISION Conference in Phoenix. “Maybe it’s my DNA of being a farm kid, but if I can talk to the farmer and get them convinced, guess what, a lot of times that works pretty well in creating value in the opposite direction.”

This is part of why he believes a collaborative approach is so important to working with customers. “We have pivoted our platform as a service offering to be incredibly flexible allowing for a more collaborative approach with our customers. We realize that the best way to make it work is to partner more closely with customers to define value.”

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The ultimate goal for EarthDaily Agro, a leader in the collection and commercial application of earth observation data for agriculture analytics, is to help farmers and those that advise, finance, and insure them be more efficient, in turn creating more value for them – whether that means using its technologies for automated detection of issues in the field to save on scouting costs or to drive more strategic, targeted marketing decisions in season.

When input availability is low and costs are high, the need for data-driven insights and tools gets even higher to increase efficiencies and margin.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get data,” he quips.

In January at VISION Conference, his company announced its rebranding from Geosys to EarthDaily Agro, the agriculture division of Vancouver, B.C.-based EarthDaily Analytics Corp. Founded 35 years ago in Toulouse, France, it uses satellite imaging to provide advanced analytics to mitigate risk and increase efficiencies, leading to more sustainable outcomes for the organizations and people who feed the planet.

EarthDaily Agro’s flexible, automated platform, which is built to handle huge quantities of data coming from its 10-satellite constellation – operational by 2024 – allows users to easily select blocks, or modules of data to help inform decisions on the farm.

“The engineering behind our platform as a service offering makes it easy to incorporate what capability you want, versus our legacy offering of hosted point applications.  Now we can simply plug our information into our client’s environment” Gebhardt explains. “It’s really making it an easily selectable menu. What’s more important is that it’s much more efficient to implement and deploy.”

He adds, “We’re trying to offer more flexibility, because to me the number-one value proposition in making ag tech work is that it has to be something that’s easy to execute. The less hands-on, the better,” he says. “That’s how we’re working with our customers – so they can help farmers in a more meaningful way.”

Part of what differentiates EarthDaily Agro, he says, is its understanding of the business processes of its customers. “It’s way more complex now than saying, I want a variable rate nitrogen map or a variable rate seed map. Now, we’re plugging ourselves into an entire business process,” he says, through remote sensing of data such as how a crop is progressing, how it is harvested, and identifying yields and stressors.

“With EarthDaily and 5-meter resolution, we can automatically detect change intra-field. With a field that’s not progressing normally, we can look inside it, and we can more quickly and readily assess where the issues are, on a daily basis. You’ll have a much finer sensitivity to identifying those stresses.”

In addition, the platform will help with verifying and measuring the impact of regenerative farming practices aimed at increasing the amount of carbon sequestered from the atmosphere.

“There is a scale of space and time that is challenging with monitoring a field for so many years (required for carbon credits). It has to be consistent, so you can measure and compare 2025 to 2026, for example. That’s where our satellite constellation will come in handy because it’s the same sensors, the same data every day for the next 10 years,” he says, adding, “We can detect tillage or no till, crop or no cover crop, emergence, and harvest. These are all things that people feed into their own algorithms for whatever carbon model they’re using.

“We are separating ourselves from the free data that’s out there. Now, we are going to have daily, 5- meter, analytics-ready data from 22 spectral bands.” What that means, he says, is bigger, better, more satellite imagery, vertically integrated from constellation to cornfield, in hours.

The company’s evolution to today, he says, comes down to its unique experience.

“We have learned enough over 35 years to know how and when and where it’s appropriate to plug in certain types of technologies,” Gebhardt says. “There is really something to be said in ag tech for being persistent and patient. If you really have a strategy and believe it and can execute, a lot of things can work.”

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