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November 4, 2022

IntelliCulture Offers Digitized Equipment Management Platform

Founded in Ontario, Canada in 2018, IntelliCulture provides equipment management software for farms to provide insights into spray coverage, operational health and labor management.

The founders of the company were engineers working in the automobile industry in the autonomous space when they decided to launch their company to apply their learnings to the agricultural world and farm equipment. CEO & Co-founder Cole Powers told WG&S that when he and his partners started the company, they spent a lot of time talking to local growers in Ontario to see what they needed and how data could help the farmer do a better job managing his equipment and farming practices.

The company’s evolution was quick, and they soon opened an office in Salinas, Calif. in the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology. What has emerged is a plug and play platform that can digitize and automate farm equipment management, including keeping track of tractor operations and maintenance schedules. Since inception, Cole said IntelliCulture has grown to serve growers across North America, ranging from small-town family operations to Fortune 500 wineries.

The closing of IntelliCulture’s seed round funding earlier this year is allowing the company to grow its team, expand its coverage and work on new offerings for its core products.

Powers said initially the company has achieved success with customers in orchards and vineyards and is looking forward to expanding its row crop business. “Our system is crop agnostic,” he said, noting that it can work equally well on a small farm or a thousand acre vineyard. The company has found most of its success with high value crops in the specialty ag space.

In a nutshell, IntelliCulture outfits a company’s farm machinery with a plug and play device loaded with its proprietary software. The device captures data as the machinery moves through the fields doing various activities from spraying to harvesting. That data is available to the farm in a variety of ways including through a live view on a computer or a smart phone. The data is also used to generate reports that can inform a grower about the exact number of acres sprayed or harvested and where the machine began and ended its work that day. The software package also keeps track of the number of hours the machine has been in operation and automates the maintenance schedule.

Powers said that by outfitting the entire farm with devices, growers can better understand their spray coverage and efficiencies, as well as manage upkeep of their assets.

He said typically growers have used whiteboards and journals to keep track of that information. He added that one large Salinas Valley customer has equipped 300 of its machines with the IntelliCulture system. “The farm manager can keep track of each of those tractors in real time,” Powers said. “And the CFO can track all the tasks and the time it takes for better budgeting the following season.”

He added that the equipment manager also knows exactly how many hours each tractor has been running and when it needs to be serviced.

In announcing its seed funding success, IntelliCulture noted that it is in the review of seasonal data that offers the best ROI. The company believes that the data being generated is where the future of the platform lies. The data can be used to build predictive algorithms for overall farm planning and operation. The company reports that some of their long-standing customers are already redesigning their future vineyard layouts and managerial practices based on the recommendations from the IntelliCulture platform to realize efficiency gains in excess of 30 percent.

From a cost perspective, Powers said IntelliCulture’s system is very affordable. The plug and play equipment can be installed on virtually any tractor make and model for an average of $150-$200. The data being generated through the IntelliCulture’s platform is available on a pay per use subscription basis. He added the typical machine being used on a full-time basis would be generating data at a cost to the user of about $500-$700 annually.

Powers also noted that the IntelliCulture software can typically work with any GPS system already installed on a tractor, negating the need for the additional hardware. And looking further in the future, he said IntelliCulture will be a great addition to autonomous machines as they are developed and employed by farmers. At the click of a smartphone app, a farm manager will be able to know where all their equipment is and all the tasks they are performing in real time.