This article is based on a more detailed case study, fully explained on the Agremo website here.
Black Gold Farms is one of the U.S.’s large geographically diverse potato producers. They grow chipping potatoes and sweet potatoes on hundreds of fields in 8 states, with more than 600 employees and 16,000 planted acres. Black Gold Farms is constantly evolving and adapting new technologies to ensure their crops are produced in the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible.
One such new technology adopted by Black Gold Farms is Agremo’s Plant Counting product – which the company implements to obtain accurate information about stand counts on every field. Before turning to precision agriculture technology, the team at Black Gold Farms relied on traditional methods for measuring stand establishment.
Traditional plant counting has limitations as it is hard to cover large farm areas timely and efficiently. Furthermore, traditional field scouting lacks objectivity and the human process cannot fully account for the variability within and across fields.
Shifting from the traditional to the modern
Three years ago, the company decided to put Agremo’s AI based drone system for determining accurate plant stand counts to the test.
Since 2020, the number of fields surveyed by drones and analyzed by Agremo’s image software has rapidly increased to now include 100% of Black Gold’s potato production acres. With Agremo’s field analytics AI software they can now measure all plants and get the full picture of the field conditions on every farm.
Agremo provides data collection and analysis services that the professional agronomists and farm managers at Black Gold Farms use to compare which seeding density and seed type will result in the most successful stand establishment. As they have different seeding densities and forms of seed per field, it is essential to measure the success rate and what drives it.
In the end, the information obtained with Agremo’s software will result in Black Gold Farms shifting 20% of their seed crop to a more strategic size. They expect to eliminate or reduce lower-producing seeds by 20%, and furthermore to change the type of seed they plant by 30%.
A high-quality measurement of plant population based on AI technology and drones gives Black Gold Farms guidance in what direction they should go when it comes to optimizing potato production.
“As markets become more defined and customer expectations are increasingly specific, Black Gold Farms believes that we must develop greater awareness of how our crops function,” says Bryan Bowen, Director of Agronomy at Black Gold Farms. “Agremo provides a new window into understanding what is happening in our fields at a more granular level, and how to move the needle in the best direction.”
Cover picture: Credit and courtesy Black Gold Farms. From left to right: Bryan Bowen, Director of Agronomy; Shawn Zellers, Agronomist-Winamac, IN; Craig Burton, Production Specialist- Winamac, IN.