The Russian manufacturer of plant protection chemicals - Firm "August" JSC - a year ago launched an innovative technological support tool for its partners based on the SkyScout program. When working with the company's preparations, agricultural producers have the opportunity of free access to a digital platform that allows them to conduct satellite monitoring of fields, track the dynamics of crop development, timely identify problem areas, receive weather forecasts for each field, calculate the optimal schedules of agrotechnical measures, analyze soil productivity based on data for several years, as well as collect and summarize all information from the fields within a single system. Based on this information, managers-technologists of "August" form timely and most accurate recommendations on crop protection for each specific farm. 127 agricultural enterprises-partners of "August" are already taking part in the project, and the total digitized area today is almost 1,14 million hectares.
The SkyScout system is a development of the Russian company IntTerra in the field of precision farming: when connected to it, agronomists get access to digitized fields. The system analyzes the state of crops in these territories using satellite data and a set of indices calculated on their basis. So, one of the most common is the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) vegetation index, which shows the density of the green mass in the field. It is calculated from satellite imagery processing data showing how intensely plants reflect and absorb light. This ability depends on the activity of their photosynthesis, so that through the NDVI tools it is possible to understand how well the crops are developing.
The indices of heterogeneity and deviation NDVI, in turn, show how different the state of plants is within the same field. It is the significant deviations of the NDVI that indicate that adverse events could have taken place in the field: damage by diseases or pests, uneven sowing, poor-quality treatments and other technological flaws, damage to plants associated with weather and soil factors, etc. This helps you to use GPS to build the best route around fields, visit the areas that raise questions, and identify problems on the spot. This is especially important for large crop farms with an area of tens of thousands of hectares.
IntTerra employees with Augusta technologists help farmers to master the program, together with them they go to the fields to sort out difficult situations and solve problems in a timely manner. If necessary, August's technologists conduct inspections on their own, preparing the necessary photos, reports and recommendations, and bring them to the attention of agronomists and heads of agricultural firms through SkyScout. As a result of the general work and the accumulation of data, an "electronic history" of fields is formed, which allows making correct management decisions in the future.
The system is supplied with a variety of reference material: information about the crops themselves, varieties, seeding rates, data on weeds, insect pests and diseases, lists of fertilizers and pesticides permitted for use. The possibility of obtaining individual consultations using the platform has been implemented. According to Gismeteo, the system prepares an hourly weather forecast for farms for five days, and an individual picture can be obtained for every five square kilometers. Based on the results of this forecast, the program itself calculates the optimal processing schedule. In 2021, August and the company's partners gained access to another important module called Fertility Zones: it shows a picture of field productivity based on satellite data accumulated since 2013. Information about where consistently productive and lean areas are located allows you to create a differentiated fertilizer application map right in the program.
At present, 127 farms have already joined the system with the help of August, and the total area of the digitized territory is 1,14 million hectares. Also, the capabilities of the program are used to monitor areas where scientists and agronomists have laid certain experiments (more than 2 thousand hectares at the moment).
“Today, customer loyalty is ensured not only by the effectiveness of drugs and the timeliness of their deliveries, but also by the quality of technological support for their use,” says Yulia Babak, project coordinator. - Working with digital platforms helps us to reach a new level of this service. As a result of such cooperation, farmers get access to an innovative tool for monitoring, analytics and forecasting, and we get confidence that Augusta's plant protection products will be used correctly, effectively and exactly where it is needed. We chose the digital platform for work in this direction, focusing on the literacy of the approach to the processing and interpretation of satellite images, their frequency, as well as on the willingness to follow our requirements for improving the program tools. And our goal today is for all the "connected" areas in the system to accumulate data on the maximum number of operations, and the quality of our interaction with farmers is constantly improving, including thanks to well-coordinated teamwork. "