It’s easy for anyone who hears Adam Koeppel—one of the three founders of Agrology—talk about the work he, Tyler Locke, Kevin Kelly and their team are doing to catch the wave of his excitement for the company, the utility it provides and the opportunities still yet to unfold for the future of agriculture.
Agrology is a technology platform that applies machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver real-time information and alerts that growers can use to react to potentially costly challenges in a timely way. The Agrology system also provides predictive data, alerting a grower to possible issues before they become a problem.
“For us,” Koeppel explained, “it’s real-time data coming in continuously to grower’s smart phones, to their text messages, weekly, monthly reports, it’s things that they don’t have to wait a long time for. And they also have all the history that they can go and look back for and correlate the outcomes they’re seeing from the data outcomes with the actions they’re taking. I think it makes it a lot easier to close the loop on what’s happening in the field. I think that’s really powerful.”
Capturing information as its occurring in the field is actionable data. The Agrology system makes seeing reactions in the soil from water needs to soil carbon sequestration levels as easy as opening a mobile app. The continuity of the data means a more complete picture of the natural reactions to grower influence to gain a better understanding of what could be a biological response that needs to be addressed versus what is a normal reaction that can be left alone. Knowing when action is necessary and when it isn’t is the cadence of efficiency.
One of the areas where information is imperative is how to best utilize water. With persistent drought issues affecting growers all over the West, knowing how to use every drop and when has never been more important.
“We can show in real time how the soil is changing with the water supply and help people know that they’re not just irrigating efficiently with their drip system, but they’re irrigating effectively with the timing and the duration,” he said.
Koeppel expands on the concept: “If you have a well that can only flow for a third or a quarter of your ranch, where are you flowing on a given day? Those are questions that we can help them answer to drive efficiency.”
Utilizing water in the most cost-efficient way isn’t the only thing on the list of challenges Agrology is looking to address. By accessing information from multi-point field data, Agrology’s technology is also set to accommodate the workforce shortage. “The problem is that there’s just not enough people, so how do we augment the labor force that exists today, how do we give them information 24/7 when they’re not going to be in the fields the whole time?” he asked. “A lot of growers have ranches that are maybe, if they’re lucky, a few miles apart, if they’re unlucky, an hour drive apart. How do we get them insights to be in both places at once so that any given day they can decide where they need to go to focus their attentions? These are the things we really hope to build with our product and the problems we’re looking to solve.”
Growers have already experienced the benefits of Agrology in the few years since its launch. Koeppel shared that there have been interesting developments when working with growers. “As we work with our customers, they’ll come back to us and they’ll tell us how they use our product in ways that we didn’t even anticipate…It means that they’re finding new and creative ways for problems that we didn’t even set out to solve that our data or our predictions can solve and enable them to develop new techniques and new strategies to handle some of these climate threats.”