Agriculture Featured

Fourth Generation Millennial Farmer Tests A.I. Drones to Upgrade Farming in Iowa

Leading AgTech Companies Taranis, Phytobiotics, Continuum Ag, and Rantizo Collaborate on Drone-Based Aerial Application of Micronutrients to Increase Soybean Yield

US trial increased soybean yields by 2.6% compared to non-treated adjacent strips and yielded results of 1.51 bushels per acre

Sunnyvale, CA – 17 DECEMBER 2019 – Four leading agricultural technology (AgTech) companies announced today the results of a trial in the US whereby they collaboratively implemented drone-based technologies to diagnose a field issue, prescribed a solution, delivered a targeted treatment, and verified an effective end-to-end system.  The companies involved were Taranis, a leading precision agriculture intelligence platform that monitors and analyzes crops using aerial imagery and AI; Phytobiotics North America, a Cary, North Carolina-based performance products company; Continuum Ag, a soil health company; and Rantizo, a Midwest-based drone spraying company.

Trials were conducted on six of Continuum Ag’s 50×250 foot soybean plots near Ainsworth, Iowa. Taranis performed scans of the fields at sub-millimeter resolution using the company’s proprietary AI2 technology and successfully identified the nutrient status of each individual leaf using an automated AI-based system. On those sections of the plots that Taranis identified as nutrient deficient, Phytobiotics generated a targeted intervention/solution in the Taranis platform, and exported it via Shapefile to be deployed on Rantizo’s spray drone. In total, three different treatments were applied on two trial plots each. Adjacent non-treated strips were used as control checks.

The trial design was developed by Mitchell Hora, who is CEO and President of Continuum Ag as well as a seventh-generation farmer, with the objective of demonstrating the precise placement of a foliar micronutrient by a drone in a late season soybean crop and testing the resulting effectiveness.

“Sustainable agriculture is best attained when leading products and management practices are used together.  This field trial showcased a perfect collaboration of tech and soil health,” said Mitchell Hora.

Of the six test strips where on-farm field trials were conducted, the two strips that received a solution of water, 0.25% v/v Non-Ionic Surfactant, and Phytobiotics’ Folia IQ™ Copper applied at a three gallon per acre application rate showed increases in copper uptake, as well as overall yield increases in bushels per acre of soybeans.

Leaf tissue analysis conducted by Midwest Laboratories measured pre-treatment copper content at 8 parts per million (ppm). Post-treatment analysis recorded a 50% increase in copper uptake with measurements of 12ppm. Yield in soybeans increased by 2.6% compared to non-treated adjacent strips and yielded results of 1.51 bushels per acre.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with such reputable AgTech innovators and show the capacity for drone-enabled technologies to help farmers maximize their yield potential through every step of the farming process,” said Ofir Schlam, CEO and co-founder of Taranis. “In a time of climate change and geopolitical upheaval, these trials show that sustainable farming can be achieved—and even flourish—when technology becomes part and parcel of the farming process.”

“These results are really exciting,” Rantizo CEO Michael Ott explained. “One of the core missions of Rantizo is to precisely apply agricultural products where they’re needed to reduce input costs and increase yields. This data shows success and we plan to expand from here.”

Grant Hansen of Phytobiotics North America was pleased with the results, as well: “We are learning our threshold for gallons per acre of applied solution. Our objective for this trial was to assess how the more a plant is targeted with a solution, the degree to which it impacts nutrient uptake and potential yield. We are delighted with these results.”

About Taranis:

Taranis is a leading precision agriculture intelligence platform that uses sophisticated computer vision, data science and deep learning algorithms to effectively monitor fields. The system enables farmers to make informed decisions by detecting early symptoms of weeds, uneven emergence, nutrient deficiencies, disease or insect infestations, water damage and machinery problems. Overseeing millions of acres of farmland in Argentina, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine and the United States, Taranis gives farmers the tools to address issues in real-time, increasing yields and cutting costs. Taranis employs over 100 people worldwide and is headquartered in San Francisco with subsidiaries in Israel, Argentina and Brazil.

About Rantizo:

Rantizo is the first company licensed and approved for drone-based agricultural spraying in multiple states. The Rantizo platform addresses both the field needs of farmers and the business needs of custom applicators by providing an integrated solution that’s first of its kind in leveraging the identification of in-field anomalies with autonomous targeted drone-based agricultural spraying.The Platform delivers an end-to-end solution that identifies problem areas, diagnoses field issues, sprays and applies required treatments and verifies the issues have been addressed accurately, all through a combination of autonomous hardware and user-friendly software. 

The highest value to farmers is generated from delivering inputs precisely where they’re needed when they’re needed. Rantizo delivers that solution while increasing the efficiency, precision, and cost-effectiveness of agricultural spraying.

About Phytobiotics:

Phytobiotics®, Leading the way in phytogenic feed additives and Taking organic trace minerals to the next level. Phytobiotics is a global, privately-owned enterprise dedicated to sustainable, socially conscious, science-driven solutions designed to increase the productivity of our customers’ business. We do that by providing superior quality service for our customers through research, development and sales of high-quality additives for animals and plants in over 80 countries. We believe that progress can be achieved through a continuous thirst for knowledge, the courage to break new ground and applying innovative solutions to customer needs. These principles are firmly anchored in our philosophy and core values of: Be Curious, Be Brave, Be Genius.

Phytobiotics’ North American Offices are located in Cary, North Carolina.  Global Headquarters are outside Frankfurt, Germany in the town of Eltville.

About Continuum Ag:

Continuum Ag was started as an agricultural consulting company, with its agronomists supporting their farmers through services such as soil sampling and fertility recommendations. With a realization that traditional agronomic consulting only addresses the chemical soil component, Continuum Ag has differentiated itself by working with growers that take a more holistic approach and recognize that the physical and biological aspects of soil must be addressed as well.  Today, Continuum Ag generates revenue by deploying its soil health focused RightWay program on farms across the Midwest, although the company also has a footprint throughout the country and as far away as South Africa.  In addition, the company has attracted the attention of numerous product manufacturers, who pay Continuum Ag to conduct third party field trials of their agricultural products. In the process, Continuum Ag has collected one of the largest private collections of soil biological data.

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