Like all planting and growing season conversations with a farmer, visiting with Seth Lawrence naturally included a moisture update and his planting recap: what the surrounding Illinois counties are looking like and what his projection is after wrapping up planting season. Lawrence is a farmer, it’s in his blood, and there’s no doubt about where his heart lies five minutes into a conversation. With fifteen years of ag tech experience, he’s well versed in what it takes to make a difference on the farm, where the gaps in ag tech exist, and how to spot a good addition to his operation’s management opportunities when it presents. A fact he isn’t afraid to tell you about.
“At this point in my career, I’m looking for companies that have black-and-white value. I’m 15 years into working in ag tech…I’m not interested in fluff,” he matter-of-factly shares.
Lawrence and ultimately the farmers and retailers he serves not only find value in the insights Taranis delivers but are excited by the opportunities the product provides to move their acres forward, season after season.
Like many, Lawrence grew up around farming, helping and learning from his dad and grandpa who farmed a couple of thousand acres. After college, Lawrence joined the ranks of corporate America and longed for the day he would make it back to his roots. That opportunity was presented in 2017 when he was able to lease his first farm.
“If you’ve grown up around farming, it’s all you ever want to do. We’re a corn-soybean operation, mostly in Indiana with some acres on the Illinois side. My wife helps manage the family farm since we’re 50/50 with family members on the family-owned ground,” he says, and you can hear the pride and accomplishment in his words.
With eight, eleven, and three-year-old “helpers”, the Lawrence family was already in the thick of adjustment to farming full-time when Seth’s dad unexpectedly passed nearly 11 months ago. The ripple of the loss of the farm’s patriarch is still being felt not only in the loss of knowledge and assurance that a dad bestows but also in manpower. Today, Lawrence manages the family farm by himself along with the leased acres and custom harvest ground that make up the majority of his operation.
“Honestly, if I had to point to something that helped me get my start with my own leased farms, I would point to precision ag,” Lawrence says. “Along with a decent cash rent, being able to provide data and insights that a landlord can see and make sense of is low-hanging fruit. Taranis is the top layer of that. I farm for some investment-type institutions and as we talked about Taranis, it was really a wide-eye moment for them to realize the type of visibility they were going to have of the farm. I offered access to my user account so they could log in and see as much as they wanted. They love it.”
Lawrence is also using the insights as he checks boxes throughout the year, determining what works, what doesn’t, and where his threats lie.
“Last summer, looking in at the corn from the cab of the 4430, I know that we are lucky. We’ve got good soils, we had good weather conditions; we can produce good crops. But I know that I’m missing things. I have a dual role, I work full time off the farm and always have, and I know that I’m missing things that I wouldn’t if I was able to scout as often as I need to. What is that costing me…10, 20, 30 bushels?”
In Lawrence’s area, a three-pass boots-on-the-ground scouting program runs about $6.00/acre. Exponentially better is the six-flight program he can get from the Taranis team—every acre, every plant, every leaf. Once those images are delivered, Lawrence says he can pinpoint exactly where he needs to spend that $6.00 an acre. Maximum effect, minimum resources.
“Scouting is far from obsolete with Taranis, it’s a tool that makes an agronomist’s job more directed and precise. It was an ah-ha moment hearing “game tape”—that’s what Taranis is…that’s what it delivers. We know what happened at planting that affects what we see at harvest. We’re always talking about potential bushels when the corn is still in the bag; Taranis makes those conversations real.”
To follow Seth’s game tape of his acres this season, watch the series, The .SHP of Ag.
“If you build it, they will come,” James Earl Jones told Kevin Costner as they both looked across the what could be within a picturesque I-state corn field.
With an eye in the sky, FlyGuys provides a nationwide solution to the growing demand for drone imaging data solutions and will serve as a partner for the Taranis team from #plant23 through #harvest23. As a drone service provider (DSP), the company provides top-tier drone pilots experienced in RGB, infrared, LIDAR, and Hyperspectral sensors, making the team a great partner for the AI-driven insights that allow Taranis to move every acre forward.
In honor of National FFA Week, our team at Taranis is catching up and sitting down with employees who were former FFA members to learn more about what the organization means to them.