For the past two years, I have been working with the good folks at “Autonomous Pivot”. I like to call them my farming friends from Israel! I first met the group when they traveled to the U.S. to visit with our investment group at iSelect. The Autonomous Pivot ag-tech startup became part of the iSelect portfolio and that meant I took a more vested interest in trying to better understand their advanced technologies and the team’s innovative vision moving forward.
To make a long story short, Autonomous Pivot transforms center-pivot irrigation systems into an intelligent, AI-driven robotic platform that works 24/7 to improve on-farm returns. Instead of taking a single soil sample, Autonomous Pivot can perform 300 soil moisture readings per rotation without disturbing the ground. At the same time, their proprietary AI Agronomist™ is working behind the scenes to constantly optimize a field’s irrigation and fertigation, even alerting producers of crop pests or disease pressure in real-time.
Trials and tests were done with a few of our farming friends in Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas the past couple of years. There were some kinks to work out early and a few hurdles to overcome, but it seems like we are now at a stage where we can start rolling out more units and have the scalability to keep up with demand and service.
The Autonomous team in Isreal also has a ton of interesting and new advanced farming technologies they are working to roll out that I find extremely interesting. Not only are they developing the world’s first on-pivot Ground Penetrating Radar for continuous noninvasive sensing of soil water content, but I’m told the company’s platform will soon include a “nitrogen torch” that is able to monitor nitrogen levels and report how much is in the ground and how efficiently the plants are uptaking the nitrogen. Not only does the company provide breakthrough sensory technology, but the AI engine synthesizes information provided by growers with data it collects on-site as well as from third-party providers and online sources such as historical and predicted weather forecasts. These data points are continually analyzed and translated into intelligent, actionable recommendations and prescriptions for irrigation and fertigation.
My goal is to try and get more units out in the field and get additional feedback from our growers! I’ve talked to my growers who have been testing the trial units and they all see tons of promise with the technology moving forward. I like to be fully transparent, so please understand, we started the program with units on just 14 different irrigated farms, so I don’t have a huge data set to share as of yet.
“Van Trump Farms”… Partnering with Autonomous Pivot! I’m happy to announce that “Autonomous Pivot” is the newest Van Trump Farms partner! We are now fielding calls and answering questions from those who are wanting to upgrade their irrigation and take the steps to advance their technology to the next level. If you would like to learn more about “Autonomous Pivot” and have someone from our team share what we have learned and some of our producer’s personal experiences Click HERE and we will send more information your way or you can simply call the office at 816-322-5300 and chat with someone from our team. We are going up this weekend to visit and have a conversation with Central Nebraska farmer Brandon Hunnicutt who has been trialing the Autonomous Pivot heads for a couple of seasons. Brandon is currently the Vice-Chair on the Nebraska Corn Board as well as on the Board of Directors for the NCGA, so he should provide us with a truly trusted source of feedback and insight. To this point, the retention rate for the number of growers we have on trial and who are wanting to continue using or are wanting to order more heads is 100%, so we are super excited about the prospects moving forward.