Oct 10, 2019Valley Irrigation uses AI to detect crop health, irrigation concerns
Valley Irrigation, a leader in precision irrigation, is gaining traction with the initial launch of Valley Insights service. Through the partnership between Valley Irrigation and Prospera Technologies announced in February 2019, the Valley Insights limited release has demonstrated successful results this growing season, turning data into useful, actionable information for growers in Washington and Nebraska. The service has exceeded expectations by already reaching its targeted goal of one million acres by 2020.
Valley Insights (valleyirrigation.com) is designed to move growers closer to autonomous crop management, generating greater returns while using fewer inputs and resources. Using computer vision, the service scouts to identify areas of over- or under-irrigation and related plant stress. It goes beyond typical aerial imaging, using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the visual data, detect issues and alert the grower so proper actions can be taken.
“Our initial release has been focused in the Northwest, where a late winter created a challenging season for growers,” said Troy Long, Senior Director of Product Management for Valley Irrigation. “They would have been hard pressed for time to sift through stacks of aerial images provided by other services, searching for potential irrigation-related issues. Valley Insights analyzes the images and alerts growers to possible crop threats before they become big problems. It has saved our users a lot of valuable time they can now dedicate elsewhere.”
Henry Boersma, who grows diversified row crops outside of Moses Lake, WA, began piloting Valley Insights this season. He says his crops are already benefitting from the technology.
“When Valley Insights identifies under-watering in certain sectors and alerts us that sprinklers appear to be plugged on certain spans, that’s exactly what’s happening,” he says. “We have another eye in the field, so we can identify issues and make corrections long before we could see stress on our crops with the naked eye. We can fix minor issues before they become major problems, which saves us both time and money.”
More and more, growers are also contending with increased resource restriction. In a changing climate, water restriction represents the new normal for growers across the country, and AI-enabled technologies like Valley Insights are helping them maintain yields while using fewer resources.
Thad Taylor, Sales Manager of Lad Irrigation South, says his customers used Valley Insights to do everything from programming a variable rate irrigation (VRI) table to improving water application.
“One of my customers has very little water allocated to his operation,” he says. “By using Valley Insights, he makes sure his crops get an even application. He’s able to fix issues with his irrigation equipment promptly so he’s not wasting his limited supply of water.”
Valley has integrated user feedback from the limited release of Valley Insights, prioritizing product development without sacrificing its commitment to simplicity and ease-of-use – all with the goal of enhancing the service prior to additional expansion in 2020.
“Valley and Prospera each bring unique expertise to the partnership, and together we’re bringing greater value to growers that undoubtedly will make a difference in overall crop health,” stated Darren Siekman, Valley Irrigation Vice President of Water Management & Business Development.
Valley Irrigation founded the center pivot irrigation industry in 1954, and our brand is the worldwide leader in sales, service, quality and innovation. With historical sales of more than 250,000 center pivots and linears, Valmont-built equipment annually irrigates approximately 25 million acres (10 million hectares) around the world. We remain dedicated to providing innovative, precision irrigation solutions now and into the future. For more information, please visit valleyirrigation.com.
Prospera Technologies is a developer of machine vision technologies that continuously monitor and analyze plant development, health and stress. Prospera captures multiple layers of climate and visual data from the crop ﬁeld and provides actionable, easy-to-read insights to growers via mobile and web dashboards. Its team of world-class computer scientists, physicists and agronomists work with experienced agri-business leaders to meet growers where they are and revolutionize the way food is grown. For more information, please visit prospera.ag.