Using Drones To Test and Measure Progress
8 Jun 2311 min 39 sec

Les Lloyd, Agronomist at AgriGold talks about how he is using drones in the fields he helps to manage and why you should consider using  a drone to help scout your fields.

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00:00 Hey there, we're talking about precision, not just precision planning. We're talking about precision. Everything. 00:04 You cannot test what you do not measure. And that's why we're in this field right here at Chad Henderson's Field Day Mass in Alabama with Les Lloyd. He's a agronomist with AG gold. He's got drones, 00:13 he's got technology. He's talking about population, talking about what we actually see in the field and how we can get bigger yields by being very precision oriented about it. Les Lloyd talked to me. 00:22 You got drones, you got a field, you were talking about the planter that went out here. You're big on being precise and getting the data. Talk to us. Whoa. 00:31 Wait a minute, wait a minute. So we big on being precise, but when I was busy planting my crop, we planted this thing with a 72 model, 00:39 John Deere 40 20, and, uh, what do we figure out? I built a thing, but I big, I think it's partially out of a nanny model. 200. It's, 00:47 so both things we working with are 30 To 50 year old real Quick, yo, but we're gonna be precise ahead. 00:52 And I'm even older, so, you know. All right. So That's what happened here. So What we've got, we've got, as Chad said, we've got an older planter. 00:59 It is a vacuum planter, um, but it's older model without some of the bells and whistles. And right across the road we've got Chad's latest, greatest, 01:07 all the bells and whistles. So how do you measure those two? How do you, how do you figure out is that better or is, is this comparable? All right. 01:16 You know, so the drone helps us to do that. So I'm lucky enough to be part of a drone project Yep. With, uh, with a gold where we're testing software. Yep. We're testing, we're, 01:25 we're trying to see if Chad will benefit from this, you know? All right. So how big is this, uh, trial? 01:31 There Go, well, we've got here, we've got multiple plots here with a gold, you know. Yeah. And this is more for our information on our farm. You know, 01:39 we start years ago, you know, we got so busy doing farming that we quit trialing on our own, you know, and, um, and then when I say trialing on our own, 01:48 I'm talking about we quit doing plots because they're, they're, they're cumbersome sometimes to do. 01:53 And so until we had another plant to do it with, it just stops the day. But what we figured out is we have to have that information because even with 02:00 all the best agronomy and the people we have with Ag Gold and the people that we have to get the data in the books, we can see a pattern, 02:07 but we can't always see it, what it's gonna do on your field, in your farm. So that's, that's what we're after here. 02:12 So, uh, we joke about Chad being the send it twin, the lead, send it twin, and he says, I measure in five gallon buckets. That's not necessarily true. 02:20 He is all about sending stuff. But when it comes to precision, you don't always think of Chad. You think, oh, 02:24 he's all about gung-ho more horsepower. You know, put the pedal of the metal race car driver mentality. You're over here, kind of a scientific background, you know, you're, 02:32 you're out here like putting milligrams on the scale and whatnot. So how'd you two come together? Most importantly, what are we trying to attain? 02:40 So, drone technology has come a long way. And, and even in the last five years, uh, the drone we're sitting in front of me, uh, it's just a dj I Phantom four, 02:48 but its capabilities are far beyond what we had even five years ago for a much lower price. Unfortunately, I see a lot of farms with drones on the shelf, 02:57 and they, they've got 'em. They're great for beauty shots. Yeah. Fly, fly over the green bin. Yeah. Check out as the, 03:03 as the combine's going across the field as the sun setting. And it makes a beautiful picture hang over your couch in the living room, 03:08 but doesn't necessarily make you any yield or money. Yep. Exactly. So what we want to know, we're testing software. We evaluated some last year. 03:16 We evaluating new software this year using DroneDeploy this year so that we can a, we can accurately measure stand and uniformity. Okay. 03:25 We can accurately see what the crop health is at various times during the season. Yeah. And more importantly, not be able to tell Chad, 03:33 your crop health was poor in July. I want to tell him his crop health is poor when he can still fix it. Yeah. Well, you know, 03:42 He can make a management decision. Yeah. Da data that's already passed its prime. Uh, it's cool to know for next season, kind of sorta, but you know what? 03:49 Don't make any money. So by the way, you talk about drone technology and using all that, that's neat. And you talk about farmers using 'em, 03:54 boots on the ground still matter because this thing can't go out and dig up roots. This thing can't find an insect problem that's under the canopy. I mean, 04:00 am I right? That's correct. So what I do, these drones are autonomous. They flip file themselves. So if I drive up to Chad's field, 04:07 whether I'm doing a stand count, crop health, anything like that, put the drone in the air. I'm doing exactly what you're saying. 04:14 I'm digging roots, I'm checking for pests. The drone is doing its thing. It lands itself, gives us the images. 04:21 I can give him a PDF of the technology of, of the readout right then and there. Really cool stuff. 04:26 Well, gimme an example where you've taken some of this stuff that like Les is talking about and like, Hey, I got this real time data that we discovered and, you know, 04:34 five years ago we would've missed it. And because we didn't miss it, it made me 10 more bushels. Made me five more, Sal saved me five more 04:40 Bushels. So, so, you know, we started out, let's say, man, let's say 15 years ago, you know, when we first come into this, 04:47 the first part of this kind of data was kind of stuff like that's auto steer. And I come out and said, man, well that's convenience, but has it, 04:54 how does it make me money? Okay. It, it gives me more time, it gives me more fatigue. 04:58 It gives my guys a longer run in the field cuz they're not driving. This is the same kind of technology. We can't scout, 05:05 Les can't come out here and boots on the ground a 500 acre field, but he can look at this and he can get a whole overall footage a whole lot 05:12 better and he can save me a time. And some things that we can do, it's like, Hey Chad, we missed this window here and we messed up. But it, 05:18 everything we do in farming is about next season. Yeah. You know, a lot of stuff we do here we can't fix. If I have a poor stand, 05:25 I can't fix that this year. No. But I can do things to the planter or the seed bed that's gonna fix that. And that's what this is gonna tell me what I did wrong. 05:32 First thing thing he probably needs to do is maybe not, not use a 32 year old planter anymore if he's talking about fixed it. But that's a, that's a different story. No, 05:39 No. It's all about the, it's all about the way you said it. And As part of the field day today, we're gonna compare those two, 05:44 we're gonna compare standard deviations. We're gonna compare, uh, what, what the two actually do. And, 05:49 and we can maybe even do that live with a little luck Soles. What I'm excited about, of course it's pretty windy. Maybe not, maybe not drone friendly. 05:55 Let's talk about what we're gonna see today and why the person viewing this is like, ah, I'm really excited about what I learned from that. 06:01 What are we gonna see today that you think is educational versus just the usual old, uh, you know, field day? Oh, I'll tell you what, this corn's amazing. 06:08 It's gonna make you 64 pounds of uh, test weight. It's gonna yield you 300 bushels. I mean it's a race horse. Uh, 62. 06:16 Okay. 60 60? No, 64. Okay. 62. Alright. Seriously. Great, great question. And so my territory runs from just north of Miami Yeah. 06:24 To the North Carolina line. So I've got corn at black layer right now. I have already flown the drone there. Yep. I have worked our, 06:31 worked our way north. I've got stand counts, I've got crop health indexes from pretty wide area. We can share some of that as time allows. Okay. 06:39 We'll also share some stuff from right here. Yep. Uh, now just wanted to make a point, my role is not to be a drone pilot. My role is not to go around the country flying drones. No, I'm an agronomist. 06:51 I support the hybrids. I I'm technical support for the agronomist. But if any of our partners, our seed partners, our dealers, 07:00 anybody that works with Agri Gold, we're learning what the capabilities are so that we can teach that to them. Yeah. So that if it makes Chad Henderson money, we can help him do that. Do 07:10 We gotta understand why it makes me money. You know me, I think, oh well I know it makes me sell. I know we gotta have a emergence. 07:16 I can see that. I know we gotta have stand counts. Right. I can see that. But if we can quantify the number and put a number to it in less with this 07:23 technology can put a number to that. Yeah. That's huge. Yeah. That'll let me go spend more money on a newer plant that'll let me, 07:28 may ensure that this plant's up to date when I spend $10,000 a winter on it. You know? Uh, a couple of things. What have we improved on? I mean, 07:36 obviously technology, the pace of innovation in ag is just remarkable. You know, we've done more in the last 10 years than we did the in the 20 years before 07:41 that, et cetera. What do you as a agronomist specializing in seed corn, what do you see that's like, wow, 07:49 I even marvel at this because it's happened like that. What, what, what do you look at and like going, man, this is kind of neat. 07:54 So for starters, I mentioned five years ago you probably couldn't get this set up for less than $60,000. Yep. Okay. Yeah. Now we can get it for five to $7,000. Okay. 08:04 Okay. Uh, two years ago we didn't have the capability to do real time mapping uhhuh. I couldn't show Chad his stand count there standing in the field five minutes 08:15 after the drone landed. I can now. Yeah. Stand count meaning, okay, he plants 32,000 population and you say you ended up with 93%, uh, 08:22 emerge or something like this. So What I've learned is that planter setup does matter. Yep. Um, for example, this software will tell you what percent of the plants 08:35 or the areas of the field are at what populations. Yep. Okay. So, uh, positive will be plus eight. Negative will be minus eight. Okay. 08:43 I've encountered a few fields where 100% of the field was at the same population. Mm-hmm. That's unusual. 08:52 So one of the things we are doing already is we're taking a crop health index as soon as the corn canopy. So call it waist high. Yep. Okay. 09:01 We develop a prescription from that so that if a farmer is doing variable rate fertilizer, he can take that drone imagery, the weak areas, the strong areas, 09:09 the stressed areas. He can maybe do his prescription a little different. We can do that today. Okay. So we can feed that plant, 09:17 that crop health index Yep. Into a precision like say a wide drop. Yep. Anything like that, we can do that today. It's cumbersome, 09:24 it's not easy sometimes, but that's why we're doing what we're doing. So are you going to look at this and then say, you know what, uh, 09:32 I'm gonna make a bunch of adjustments because what this thing shows me or is it a little bit of everything? 09:38 You know, I don't think I want us to look at it at all because it tells me how bad I do do. It tells me how bad I do, you know, and on a laughing note, 09:45 you know that that's what, and that's what it does. It tells us if we're hitting or missing. Because if you're running the machine, you remember those days where maybe I shouldn't have been planting and I was 09:54 trying to plant. Maybe it was a little drier and maybe I should have had a seed notch, maybe another quarter inch deeper. You know? 10:00 So it's definitely things that you can see. Like when you go up on a rise, hey, you're your, your stand is different there and it is here. 10:05 That's when we should have had, you know, more moisture there. It's, it's things you remember while you're running the machine that you see when you 10:11 tie to this. It's gonna make sense. Get me outta here. Last thoughts on precision as you're going to demonstrate today in this field day. So the person that can't attend our field day, 10:19 that's obviously already missed it cause it's a past or what is this? V4 V3. 10:24 V3, okay. Why do I need to know about precision right now? And what are you gonna share with people today? 10:28 So, uh, uniformity of stand, certainly. I can't do a crop health index until the crop canopies. Yeah. Okay. So really all we can do with the drone today. 10:36 What do you Yeah. Okay. Is stand cal. All Right. Um, so I I go back to about 30 years ago to Purdue University did a well known study that showed for every one degree of standard deviation of stand establishment, 10:47 you lose three bushels. Now farmers can put a number to that. Okay. Yep. That was a 30 year old study hasn't been done on modern hybrids. 10:54 And, and to, and to ascertain that information 30 years ago, Les, you had to like essentially get on your hands and knees and count it and now we 11:01 can talk about standard deviation of, of emergence or crop stand and it's much more easily found. And, 11:07 and I can get that to him for the whole field in literally about 15 minutes. That's fantastic. 11:13 So, so that's what we hope to demonstrate. We're, we're learning, we're, we're exploring. Uh, does this, does this help the Henderson partner, 11:19 So he is less Lloyd with our gold agronomist and we appreciate that. Stay tuned for what kind of information we come up with. He's Chad Henderson, 11:26 of course. He's, uh, the lead send it twin and the founder of Extreme Ag right as Field Day. And we're here to share information and make it so that you can up your farming 11:34 game.

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