Simplot Relies on Airbus to Deliver Valuable Agronomy to Their Farmers Agriculture

Simplot and Airbus jointly developed a scalable, automated system to collect, process, analyse and digitally display satellite imagery from Pléiades and SPOT 6/7.

Satellite imagery has been used since the 1970s to provide insight on crop health to farmers and agronomists. However, it has been viewed as nothing more than static, tricolored maps with minimal value for farmers. As GPS-enabled mobile devices grew in use and satellite imagery started to become more relevant with better imaging quality, frequency and resolution, then new solutions became possible. Although the technology continued to improve, turning this data into valuable, timely agronomy that was easily scalable, remained a challenge for both agriculture retailers and farmers.
As the advent of mobile devices began altering the historic imagery market and printed maps were no longer preferable, J.R. Simplot Company, one of the largest privately-held food and agribusiness companies worldwide, struggled to efficiently assist farmers in making sound agronomic decisions in this new digital era.

Simplot advisor interface

Solution & Result

Simplot and Airbus jointly developed a scalable, automated system to collect, process, analyse and digitally display satellite imagery from Pléiades and SPOT 6/7.

This provides spatial resolutions of 50cm to 6m and up to weekly temporal resolution. This imagery process has enabled Simplot’s SmartFarm® Precision Agriculture team and agronomists to gain insight on their farmers’ fields, such as:

  • Infrared
  • Plant health, change, ranges
  • Visual (natural colour photo)
  • Weak acres and acres changes

These specific imagery derivatives began as a printed deliverable for Simplot’s farm customers and became invaluable once the process was fully integrated into the SmartFarm® agronomic data portal Simplot Advisor™.

Then the conversion from print media to digital took Simplot’s imagery offerings to a whole new level. From field enrolment to tasking to processing and display of imagery, each step became integrated and seamless. The digitisation of imagery also enabled Simplot to overlay other digital agronomic data layers (soil type, management zones, yield, etc.) and begin determining correlations within the data to facilitate agronomic decisions. The digital format also allows Simplot agronomists to use imagery on their mobile devices. This new ability to provide directed-field scouting over multiple imagery layers has proven to be a great agronomic tool and time saver.

Precision agriculture insights on field level
  • An unrivalled agronomic imagery useful time-saving tool for farmers and agronomists
  • Increase in the number of monitored fields and acreage
  • Detailed change detection layers to farming advisors as a result of the precise spatial accuracy
  • Increased directed-field scouting revenue due to imagery integration into Simplot Advisor™ and the ability to scout over imagery derivatives
  • Increased opportunities for value creation through the development of multiple imagery derivatives
  • Support for farmers in their daily work and decision making, fulfilling the SmartFarm® mission of delivering data-driven agronomy

Satellite imagery is the backbone of our SmartFarm®  Precision Agriculture platform.

"The high resolution, high frequency imagery we receive from Airbus enables our crop advisors to quickly respond with more agronomic insight to issues occuring in the growing season."
 

Allan Fetters, Director of Technology J. R. Simplot Company

The J. R. Simplot Company, a privately-held agri-business firm headquartered in Boise, Idaho, has an integrated portfolio that includes phosphate mining, fertiliser manufacturing, farming, ranching and cattle production, food processing and food brands, plus other enterprises related to agriculture.

Simplot company logo

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