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Start-Up Spotlight: Agrisource Data
Getting produce from field to market is hampered by many factors. Farmers not only must know when to harvest to optimize revenue, but also must ensure they have enough product to satisfy contracts, the appropriate labor at the right place and time, adequate transportation, and a processor lined up when it’s go time. Once the produce is ready to be delivered, the processor must have enough space to store it and be able to fulfill the contract with the retailer.
Agrisource Data is working to take the guesswork out of this process for both the farmer and the processor with its AgClarity platform.
“The biggest problem we are trying to solve is long-range, accurate forecasting at the field level,” says CEO Ben Worley. “Knowing how much, when, and what quality you are going to have coming out of the field can impact everything from logistics to contract management to the retail side of things.”
Pulling from Various Sources
In order to get the outcomes that farmers or processors are looking for, Worley says a lot of data is usually required. The platform combines multilayer data intelligence, including information gathered by in-field sensors and third-party data sources, with crop-specific machine-learning algorithms.
The in-field sensors from Agrisource Data could include soil moisture and temperature, leaf temperature, pollination, and pest detection. Data from the third-party sources may be weather data, satellite images, and drone footage. In addition, the start-up takes into account farmer and processor data to help create accurate forecasts.
“We use a concept called Y-cubed or Y3 to identify the ideal intersection of yield quantity, quality, and timing as early in the season as possible to impact harvest and beyond. This produces Y3 forecasts, which are consistent, accurate, and hyperlocal,” he explains. “By training a mix of many different AI models with layers of crop, variety, and field-specific data, our Y3 forecasts get better with every new input – season after season.”
Agrisource Data’s team of experts, which includes agronomists, data scientists, and PhDs, determines the perfect mix of sensors and information the subscriber needs to tackle an issue in the field. For example, a root sensor may be installed on a farm with the goal of conserving water. By measuring soil temperature and moisture levels, the sensor would give the farmer a better idea of when and when not to irrigate.
Depending on what problem a subscriber is trying to solve, a subscription can cost anywhere from $2 to $10 per acre annually.
“There are so many products out there, which makes it easy for farmers to get overwhelmed by the types and numbers of sensors needed, where they go, and when they need maintenance,” says Worley. “We save producers the process of figuring it all out so they can focus on getting the results they are looking for.”
Once the sensors are installed by an Agrisource Data technician, the subscriber can log into the company’s cloud-based platform to view the information. The data can be shared among the farmer, logistic provider, and processor. This allows them to be more efficient during the harvest season and to reduce waste.
Proving out the Concept
Last year, Agrisource Data equipped a grape farm, which was making average revenue, with sensors across more than 100 acres.
“A farm producing table grapes in California was having trouble with consistent quality in appearance,” says Worley. “The sensors allowed it to track color changes earlier so that the operation could react quicker to manipulate the color. Because the operation was able to meet the buyer’s standards, the farm had a reduced amount of crop loss.”
The farm paid $4 per acre for the company’s services and ended up making an additional $2,400 per acre after harvest. Based on this success, the farm will be expanding the Agrisource Data services to the rest of the farm next season.
Launched in 2015, the start-up currently has 30 subscribers from nine states in the U.S. and 11 countries. It is currently targeting farms that grow specialty produce such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
About the Company
Company: Agrisource Data
Founder: Ben Worley and Ahmed Mahgoub
Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia
Background: After working for a company that used drones for agriculture, Worley saw a huge need for improvements in the digitization of agriculture. He developed Agrisource Data to help farmers predict yield quality, quantity, and timing, as well as reduce food waste.