Late Season Drone

Late season drone flying over a corn field. 

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Every season, corn growers try to predict their yield. In the past, they were forced to rely on outdated and imprecise methods of counting and estimating. However, with new Tassel Count Analytics from Sentera, yield estimates in the 2020 season can be more accurate and reliable.

“By being able to understand in August or September where that crop is going to be by adding an accurate yield estimation, now I can make economic decisions based on agronomic data just from simply doing a flight over my field,” said Greg Thompson, commercial sales team lead with Sentera.

This program is an extension of Sentera’s early-season emergence and plant population programs.

A drone is flown over a field and the image is uploaded. The artificial intelligence built into the computer program then reads the image and counts every plant in the field. Growers are not getting an estimate of plant population per acre based off field samples and calculations, but this is a computer-based count of every plant on every acre.

Tassel Count Analytics builds upon this by counting the plants that have actually reached maturity, developed a tassel and have the potential of producing full ears.

“Not only are we counting the tassels, but we're creating a zone map. What users will see is an average number of standing plants and a red, yellow, or green indicator, directing you where to go out and do ear samples,” Thompson said.

With the information gathered by the grower from those ear samples, the program can calculate a more accurate yield estimate based on total productive plants in the field. This information gives a grower an edge when marketing their commodity ahead of harvest.

“Look at this year for example, in North Dakota there's 2 million acres of corn still standing in the field. Farmers are being asked to make pre-buy decisions to get cash considerations before their crop has gone through the yield monitor,” he said.

While the yield monitor will always be the final word on production, Tassel Count Analytics gets growers closer to knowing what that yield monitor will say.

The zone map Tassel Count Analytics generates also helps growers determine which areas of their field performed and which didn’t.

Growers will be able to take their as planted data, overlay their as emerged data, including plant health mapping, and deliver a zone map of plants that reached maturity with the grower’s kernel and collar counts.

“You are put in probably the biggest position of power that a grower has had to date when it comes to making economic decisions based on agronomics,” he said.

This information allows a producer to really zero in on the areas of their farm that are producing well throughout the year, the areas that could use more help or inputs and areas that may be losing.

Once the field is in fact harvested and the yield data is adding into the mix of information, a grower can truly understand just how an area in their field performed, how many seeds were planted, how many emerged, how their plants faired as far as health, how many reached maturity, and how many bushels those plants eventually produced.

For more information about Sentera and Tassel Count Analytics, go to their website, sentera.com or contact a sales representative.

PS 1220 Drone.jpeg: Late season drone flight.