COUTT’S AGRO CASE STUDY
A true tale about the original inventors of First Pass technology and why they felt using a product that eliminated the decision-making process of how a field was entered, exited and operated changed the way they ran their entire operation.
Land O’Lakes Innovation Award winner, Coutts Agro is known not only for being forward-thinking, but its strong commitment to helping the environment. First Pass Infield Solutions was developed on the 90,000 acre farm near Kindersley, Saskatchewan by farm operator Ian Coutts and business partner Lane Story. With a strong belief in accountability and responsibility on the farm, First Pass Infield Solutions was developed to reduce carbon footprint, but also to address a number of inefficiencies detracting from the farmer’s bottom line.
First Pass Infield Solutions was a unique and revolutionary solution that allowed farmers to optimize field passes and reduce driving. Using information about their operation combined with data already stored within their equipment, the proprietary algorithms provide an optimized guidance package, allowing the operator to make fewer passes, and reduce input costs while increasing the productivity of their machines.
After managing his large-scale farm for a number of years, Coutts found he was spending a substantial amount of drive time in the field. Although auto-steer was a massive shift, it opened their eyes to more challenges and opportunities.
“We knew there were 100 wrong ways to send the equipment to the field and one right way. Agriculture has become an industry filled with a lot of inexperienced seasonal workers. With the need to have those people operating our equipment, we needed a product on the market that eliminated the decision making process of how a field is entered, exited and operated.” (Ian Coutts, Coutts Agro)
Coutts also found those issues were being compounded as they started adding multiple machines to the field, lining up to 10 combines at time. However, with there always being new technology to implement and money to be spent, there was still no product that actually addressed the core issues they were experiencing in the field.
A WIN-WIN SOLUTION
First Pass Infield Solutions was developed on the farm with Coutts Agro and through ongoing testing, mounting to millions of cumulative acres, Coutts discovered they were able to add almost 20,000 acres with no new equipment as they increased the utilization of their existing equipment.
Coutts also found they were able to simplify and streamline how they set up and organized a field, regardless of operator skill and experience. They quickly noticed a cost savings of between 5-7% across all fields, and with the knowledge that fixed costs on a farm of their size can equate to tens of millions of dollars, that savings was significant. Although they expected to see strong financial benefits from using First Pass Infield Solutions, what was unexpected was a morale boost with operators competing for the perfect pass to finish a field.
*Based on 2018 crop production cost analysis produced by The Ministry of Agriculture, Saskatchewan for dark brown soil zones.
VERGE AND COUTTS AGRO
After collecting substantial data and experiencing the results, Coutts sought a company to help them take their product to the next level. They chose to work with the team from Verge because they not only shared a strong passion to increase profitability at the farm-level while ensuring the responsible production of food but also because they embody the ambition that matches their own.
This company very much understood our product and where they could take it.
Verge was tasked with taking First Pass to the masses, and in that process created a revolutionary path planning tool called Launch Pad.
Verge was no stranger to big data in agriculture. Previously known as Whipcord, they had built and monetized the world’s 3rd largest optical remote sensing company and have now gone full-circle from their space days as they build the fastest growing farm logistics imagery platform worldwide.
Launch Pad is an interactive web-based geospatial application developed to help growers optimize the movement of their machinery. Users have the ability to tweak critical field and equipment specific parameters to create a route plan that minimizes economic and environmental costs while maximizing field efficiency. It offers a variety of cutting-edge, cloud-native capabilities to help growers create and visualize optimized path plans for every field operation during each phase of the production cycle.
We’ve had to adopt tech but there is a learning curve and sometimes it can be overwhelming, so that’s why we work with the experts at Verge. They get that making it easy is crucial.
We are building the underlying operating system for the intelligent, connected farm of the future, and with Launch Pad, we’re empowering the digital transformation of agriculture.