Over the past couple of week’s we’ve been sharing our perspective and reviews on some leading technologies in agriculture. We love learning about new technology solutions at IN10T and it’s even better when that innovation comes from one of our FarmerTrial Participants. Today we’re excited to talk about one of those innovations.
FarmerTrials Network member Justin Ogle is a farmer full of ideas. As he works his fields in Missouri, he often comes up with solutions to everyday problems that farmers face. What stands out, however, is that his solutions often end up being turned into companies that actively make a difference in the agriculture industry. So Justin and a team of experts started Cropsafe, a company intended to help farmers and companies deal with pest threats.
The purpose of Cropsafe is simple: To provide locations for storage of sensors that generate data valuable to agriculture. The idea of leasing small plots of land for sensor use was born out of experience, not only on Justin’s farm, but also through the knowledge gained by members of the Cropsafe team. Matt Westerhaus of Heartland Soil Services is also a driving force behind the Cropsafe program. According to Matt, he and the team at the Heartland Soil Services crop sensory department had considered the idea of grids across the US for insect trapping and monitoring, which was similar to Justin’s consideration of sensor locations. When they met at the 2017 InfoAg Conference, they recognized the connection between their ideas and decided to work together, creating the Cropsafe idea of today.
Value to Farmers
The Cropsafe platform is made up primarily of two major offerings, with more planned for the future. To start, Cropsafe provides an insect trap camera system. This system covers 45,000 square miles of farmland in the midwest, along with more acreage in the California fruit and nut industry. The expansive coverage allows Cropsafe to provide a valuable service- they can monitor pests such as Corn Earworm, True Armyworm, and more. Not only is this beneficial to the farmers who own the land the camera is featured on, the system is also designed so that large amounts of data can be analyzed on a national scale. This allows for the tracking of pest populations and movement across the grid system designed by Cropsafe.
To take advantage of this data, Cropsafe also partnered with Nathan Stewart and the AgVantage team to provide the Cropcast app, their second product offering. The app itself is designed to work for farmers who are seeking information on when to apply an insecticide. When you use the app, you are able to select locations on a nationwide map. The Cropcast app will then be able to access the Cropsafe database for pests within your area, and calculate the growth stages of those pests using phenology models. If a pest isn’t listed, the farmer can contact the team. If a phenology model is available for that pest, the app will be updated and the farmer will be able to track that insect’s estimated expansion in their area.
Check out an example of the app in action: Cropcast in Action (YouTube)
Future of Cropsafe
The Cropsafe program and Cropcast app continue to expand rapidly, meeting the desires of both farmers and researchers seeking to understand the impact of insects on agriculture. Right now the Cropcast app is in beta, and a web app is available to try out at www.crop-cast.com. In the future the app will be available for full use on iOS and Android devices, with both versions launching soon. The Cropsafe team plans to continue expanding the insects featured on the app, and to tie in potential products that could be used to treat infestations.
Right now the network has a long way to go to help predict large scale pest migrations, however it does appear that their system is suited for in field management. By using their model to provide benefit to individual farms while also expanding their network, we expect it won’t take long for the national level data to become available. Based on the 1466 targeted locations for sensors, you may find that the team is readily expanding into your area and can be connected with to potentially set up on your farm.
If you want to learn more about Cropsafe, check out their website at https://www.cropsafenetwork.com/