Your Vegetables Are Data

FarmLogs chief agronomist Tracy Blackmer regularly attends crop conferences and gives talks to farmers, showing examples of 5-meter-resolution images taken by Planet’s satellites. He finds that until he shows the pictures, farmers often aren’t aware of how good the satellite imagery has gotten; the last pictures they saw were from 10 years ago, when satellites could only take pictures of fields occasionally, with poor resolution. “Everyone thinks it’s too coarse to see anything,” Blackmer says.


Then he puts up the pictures. Here’s one that shows a field marred by a fixable equipment problem. Here’s one where you can see the wheel tracks of a malfunctioning combine. “They’ve all been told you can’t do that” with satellite images. Then Blackmer tells them, “This data’s being saved. That’s important, because land’s changing all the time. Maybe you’re thinking about buying this other farm. We can go back six years and show you the problem areas.” With satellites as opposed to drones, they’re getting the sweep of history instead of just a snapshot, for a cost as little as 20 cents per acre per year. And the satellite imagery is only going to get better and more frequent. “That just stuns ’em.”

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