Jake Samuel, a fourth generation grower in the San Joaquin Valley of California, reports he’s seen first-hand how technology pays off with crop management decisions.
“One thing my grandpa drilled into my head was to write everything down. Otherwise, you’ll forget it next year,” Samuel says. “Today’s technology allows us to log everything so we can keep track and continue to improve.”
As an example, they have used Ceres Imaging to help direct scouting in their cherry and walnut trees.
“We had mites flare up in the same spot every year,” Samuel says. “So we knew there was going to be an issue with mites, but we didn’t know how big it could be. And the imagery caught the stress in the trees before the mites flared.”
Knowing the areas of concern as well as being on the front edge of flare ups helps the professional crop adviser (PCA) who works with the Samuels focus their efforts.
Because of the coverage provided by the remote sensing technology of Ceres, it not only maximizes the human resources but is also less capital intensive than in-field monitoring systems.
“This imagery pinpoints exactly where we should be looking for issues,” Samuel says. “We need resolution down to the tree level.”
Samuel says when they first started using the Ceres imagery services, the first assumption was to be able to gain insights on water usage.
“We did see areas where the crop was telling us about water demand,” Samuel says. “But we also found by looking at biomass and the core thermal readings, we were impressed to see how we could be proactively managing other yield threats.”
Samuel and the team use iPads to take to the field.
“We are able to walk to the middle of a field with the GPS and know we’re in the middle of a problem area as it’s confirmed by the overlay of the Ceres imagery,” Samuel says.
While the technology has proven it’s value, Samuel doesn’t see it replacing the need for boots on the ground.
“Our PCA provides a great service in working with us, and Ceres is another a tool that can help fine-tune irrigation, stress management and pest management,” he says.