The Future is Here: AI on the Farm - Taranis

The Future is Here: AI on the Farm

If you happened to catch Nir Naor’s interview with Laura Handke on our AcreForward Podcast, you knew there would be a follow-up. How could there not be? AI has revolutionized how farmers and their advisors build information and the decision-making that information drives. And Taranis is here for it, strengthening the proprietary algorithm we use to analyze the millions (and growing) of data points we gather every growing season. 

The future is here. 

At the Top Producer Summit in February, Bryan McMurtrie, Regional Sales Manager, and other Taranis employees listened in on the event’s future of farming panel: 

“The panel discussion revolved around the use of AI in agriculture, and one of the big things they discussed was how the use of aerial imagery and artificial intelligence (AI) was the future of agriculture. We all wanted to raise our hands and say, “We’re here. Taranis is already doing it!” AI is a huge benefit to agriculture,” McMurtrie says. 

In the latest AcreForward episode, McMurtrie outlines the deliverables of AI on the farm. From the transition from high-pressure and long hours in ag retail to a more balanced and prioritized workday to the digital insights that are helping farmers find profitability and retailers strengthen relationships… Taranis delivers. 

McMurtrie shares that he’s no stranger to ag retail and that working the gamut of jobs in the industry gave him insight and appreciation for a service like Taranis. Today, he lives 50 miles northeast of St. Louis, serving the southern Illinois region and calling on the network that it has taken him a career to build. 

“I started in ag retail working in operations and then worked up to an applicator, followed by precision sales and agronomy sales,” he says. “For five years before coming to Taranis, I was managing full-service agronomy retail along with a couple of elevators. I know how retail works, and bringing Taranis to this industry is personal for me.”  

There aren’t many jobs—if any—in ag retail that McMurtrie isn’t familiar with…a business model that centers on “doing what it takes”…many times at the cost of time with family.

“You just do what needs to be done (in ag retail). I would have growers call me to check their fields, stage them, make herbicide recommendations, and honestly, there weren’t enough hours in the day,” he shares of the unforgiving schedule of an ag retail agronomist. “Taranis lets an agronomist sit down in the morning, and over a cup of coffee, in 15 minutes, you can look at the dashboard, scan THOUSANDS of acres, and prioritize your day. You know what fields have issues, and rather than 20 or 30 fields on your list for the day, you have maybe five.”

More than Saved Acres

The intangibles Taranis provides are as important and perhaps even more valuable than the dashboard and insights a farmer and retailer can hold in their hands. 

“Identifying threats early builds tremendous rapport with a grower,” McMurtrie says. “You’re not just stopping into their shop or jumping in the tractor with them, you’re delivering valuable information they can use for decision-making. It’s an elevated conversation every time you visit with them.”

The Taranis dashboard prioritizes and color codes fields and priorities within those fields, creating an apples-to-apples conversation between a farmer, retailer, agronomist – whoever is in the trusted circle of advisors – the information is the same and timely for all. Additionally, the dashboard allows a farmer or retailer to generate year-end crop reports, communicate directly on the platform with one another and share data back and forth to provide a seamless communication and data review experience. 

AI Changes the Experience

“If you throw a business card down, Taranis’ AI can read that business card through high-level, high-resolution data capture. For a crop, the AI is able to process those images and not just determine that there are threats present, but identify what those threats are,” McMurtrie says. “The power of AI is unbelievable. It is constantly learning. The more data it captures, the better it gets.” 

Taranis follows a cadence based off the data and GDU model learned in the first post-plant flight of the season. Typically, every 10-15 days a drone will fly the enrolled fields to capture data. After the AI analyzes the data, a grower will receive a notification when the fields and information are ready to be viewed. The process is seamless, putting the information needed to make decisions in the hands of decision-makers days and weeks earlier than traditional scouting. 

An Addition to Agronomists, Not a Replacement

“When I talk to retailers, I tell them that we are a digital employee for their team. ‘Think of it as adding another staff member to your team,’ I tell them. I’m selling time and efficiency,” says McMurtrie. “When an agronomist can look at the dashboard in the morning and prioritize their day, what growers they need to see and review thousands of acres… you do that multiplied by five or six reps at a location, and you’ve added at least one more employee.”  

McMurtrie says that the goal and purpose of Taranis’ AI will never be to replace human capital. The goal is to aid the boots-on-the-ground who are vetting and validating AI and formulating action plans. The goal of Taranis AI is to make ag retail agronomists and sales professionals more efficient by prioritizing their workload. 

“AI will never replace the relationship between a retail rep and a grower,” he says. 

To hear more of this conversation, that was, additionally, chalk-full of insights and answers to the questions about AI’s role in agriculture posed in internet and social media chat groups, view the video above or download the podcast on Apple, Spotify or YouTube.

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