Corteva Agriscience, a leading agricultural supplier providing farmers around the world with a diverse mix of seed, crop protection, and digital solutions, collaborated with Kin + Carta to create a new digital app, paired with a drone, that reduces the time to complete a stand assessment by 76% and provides data insights at the edge to help improve yield.
Improving agriculture outcomes with data-driven, real-time decisions
Providing Data Insights at the Edge
For farmers and agronomists, there’s no more-critical data than the yield estimate. Corteva Agriscience collaborated with Kin + Carta to equip its customers with the ability to transform its yield estimation process from the ground up using a new digital app and drone technology.
Yield estimations come down to two critical data amounts: stand count (how many plants have sprouted) and seed spacing. Traditionally, an agronomist would need to conduct a time-intensive “stand assessment” to retrieve these data by physically walking fields to inspect crop growth and prepare a full report for growers. Corteva aimed to not only reduce the time required to complete these assessments but also make data more readily available.
Other applications rely on cloud processing and take hours, if not days, to get your results. But with Corteva™ Flight, by the time the drone lands, you pack things up and get in your truck, a stand count is ready to be shared.Steve Dieke Architect, Corteva Agriscience
In the spring of 2020, the proprietary Corteva™ Flight app was released, bringing data to the field’s edge by leveraging Corteva’s drone fleet, the largest agricultural fleet in the world. Agronomists can now quickly draw a field boundary, send a flight path to a drone, and capture images that are then processed on an iPad.
By the time the drone mission is complete, the stand count and spacing are already being analyzed are available within minutes, a 76% reduction in estimation time. The app has already been used for more than 12,000 flights and over 8,000 shared PDFs, highlighting the collaboration between growers and their trusted advisors.
“There’s a constant theme developing in agriculture of being able to do all things at the field edge to speed the decision-making process,” said Steve Dieke, architect at Corteva Agriscience. “Other applications rely on cloud processing and take hours, if not days, to get your results. But with Corteva™ Flight, by the time the drone lands, you pack things up and get in your truck, a stand count is ready to be shared.”
Filling a Market Need
Corteva recognized the need to create a more-efficient and more-accurate stand assessment tool. After Corteva’s R&D team developed an initial prototype, it quickly became apparent that there was a growing market for Corteva Flight.
“We really saw a gap in the [drone] industry . . . so we took a different approach to look at this from the mindset of, how do you make . . . the pilot way more efficient?” said Jeremy Groeteke, US Digital Ag Lead for Corteva Agriscience.
In late 2019, the Corteva team set out to produce a market-ready mobile app for the 2020 growing season. To meet its tight turnaround goal, the team turned to Kin + Carta to bring the product to a production-ready state.
The collaboration provided the opportunity to leverage Kin + Carta’s unique approach to user-experience design and Corteva’s agriculture data-science capabilities to create a powerful digital tool while capitalizing on a clear industry need.
Going Farther Together
“This is the perfect example of how a global organization like Corteva Agriscience can do things right with a strong product vision and a focus on collaboration between our internal teams and outside collaborators,” said Gary Jepsen, technical product manager at Corteva Agriscience.
The project’s focus on reusability and continued development was present from the beginning. Instead of creating multiple iterations of the same solution, Corteva decided to build a tool that was useful for both their internal teams and their customers.
Internal agronomists are using Corteva Flight to find problem areas and improve yield in Corteva’s own seed supply chain. Corteva’s commercial agronomists can share the results of missions with their growers and provide actionable insights to increase the yield for Corteva’s seeds.
This tool is now further leveraged as a global solution for other crops and problem solving, like Fall ArmyWorm damage detection in Argentina or sunflowers counts in Ukraine. Marion Limberger, R&D Applied digital solution lead at Corteva Agriscience said, “It has been game-changing to collaborate with Kin + Carta to innovate above and beyond with our drone software. The team has been quick and reactive to make necessary changes and improvements to deploy the tool to other customers.”