2022 was a year characterized by steadfast resiliency among the grower community. Our team is driven by the mission to help high value crop growers thrive in the face of ever-changing conditions and challenges. And while the past year has certainly dealt its share of challenges, we’re proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together with growers, continuously evolving and innovating to squeeze the most value out of every acre, while also helping preserve the longevity of farmlands for future generations.
In this post, we take a look back at some notable highlights, emerging trends, and key milestones from the past year, and look ahead to exciting things to come in the new year.
2022 Highlight Reel
Expanded acreage on Fieldin
Over the past year, we have continued to see the total area managed on the Fieldin platform expand across new regions, acreage, and crops. Citing measurable ROI as the key driver, we saw many customers double down on their use of the platform by enabling Fieldin across more of their operations. Some of the most valuable returns have come in the form of shift time optimization, fuel savings, and spray material reduction.
Early last year, we expanded our team presence in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. following an increase in demand and are now working with 5 of the top 10 growers in this region, including Gilbert Orchards, Columbia Farm Services, and Zirkle Fruit, to name a few. Additionally, we’ve seen a notable rise in adoption within the vineyard segment across California and PNW regions, growing vineyard acres on the platform over 400% in 2022.
As larger companies seek to gain greater visibility to operate with more accuracy, efficiency, and accountability across their operations, we’ve also seen increased adoption and usage among our corporate grower segment. Growers like Vann Brothers, Taylor Farms, Goldleaf, and Wawona, who oversee diverse and complex operations are finding renewed confidence in their planning as a result of being armed with data-backed insights.
Operator incentive programs powered by Fieldin
An emerging trend that we’ve seen develop among several growers is the creation of performance-based incentive programs for operators using the visibility and data that Fieldin provides.
Labor shortages and rising wages are consistently noted as a top challenge for growers. Hence, optimizing shift efficiency is critical. With the real-time visibility of the mobile app and insights from custom reporting, shift supervisors are able to reward top performers while also holding under-performers accountable for excessive breaks and slow operating speeds.
These programs take different forms, including gamification with leaderboards and prizes, career advancement opportunities, and end-of-season bonuses. Incentive programs like these have been especially helpful for ranch managers who face pushback from operators who may have a negative perception of being monitored with tracking devices.
ESG impact reporting
As companies heighten their attention around investing and operating more responsibly, they are honing in on practices across three key areas: Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). For the agriculture sector, much of the focus has centered on environmental sustainability.
Consumers and investors are increasingly demanding growers and portfolio managers to demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability. To meet this need, farmland asset managers are relying on in-field data so they can communicate things like greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction, carbon capture, dust control practices, and more. We’ve already started to see Fieldin customers use their data to communicate ESG impact in their sustainability and annual investor reports.
Journey to autonomy
Following Fieldin’s acquisition of Midnight Robotics in late 2021, we spent much of the last year building the first product in our autonomy line, Auto-Spray. Unlike other autonomous spraying equipment that requires a large upfront investment in new machinery, Fieldin’s Auto-Spray solution is made up of a retrofit kit that installs on your existing equipment. It uses LiDAR technology to detect trees and vines to accurately spray the right amount of materials in areas where the system detects that it can save chemicals.
This product became available for order mid-year, and we conducted a series of Fieldin Demo Days to showcase the technology and its capabilities. Working alongside growers, we very quickly realized how much value Auto-Spray provides, delivering up to 87% in chemical savings in some cases. We will continue to expand this rollout over the coming year, with many units already committed for delivery.
New Fieldin website experience
Just recently, we launched the new fieldin.com website experience to serve as a dedicated resource to help growers grow smarter. We invite you to take a look around, and of course, let us know any feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter to keep a pulse on industry news, product updates, and upcoming events.
Evolution & Innovation in 2023
As we look ahead to the coming year, the near term will include many carry-over challenges from 2022, including high input costs, volatile market conditions, and turbulent environmental factors. In the face of these challenges, growers will continue to harness the power of data and technology to become more efficient and precise in their operations, increasing their bottom lines and yields in the process.
Here are some of our trends and predictions, along with a preview of our product roadmap and event lineup for 2023.
Trends & Predictions
Profitability & ROI will rank #1 in decision-making
Growers will continue to reach for solutions to squeeze the most value from each acre, with a particularly strong focus on cost savings. Solutions with strong, proven ROI will win.
Connecting data across different sources will become a top priority
As the number of point solutions in the agtech sector continues to increase, growers will look for a single dashboard to manage all of their data. To meet this need, we will see increased collaboration between technology companies in the form of data transfer capabilities (e.g. APIs), as well as consolidation of companies to provide more comprehensive service offerings.
Outsider tech will struggle
Growers will continue to value AgTech solutions built from real-world ag experience versus new entrants with little-to-no background in agriculture.
Specialized technology and data roles will emerge
“Global spending on smart technology and connected systems in the ag space is projected to triple in revenue by 2050”. In line with this, growers will increasingly need to dedicate resources and create specialized positions to oversee technology, data, and analytics across their operations. Roles such as IT Managers, Data Analysts, CTOs, and CIOs will start to make their way into ag.
Autonomous solutions will become more attainable
To fit into growers’ continually shrinking budgets, autonomous solution providers will look to define growth paths that enable customers to gradually grow into autonomous solutions that allow them to get value today while also investing in their future.
Sustainability reporting will become more standardized
As ESG impact reporting continues to make its way up the prioritization pole, standards bodies and protocols will start to consolidate and become mainstream. The initial areas of focus will be on quantification of efforts and impact.
Key Areas of Focus for Fieldin
Here are a few areas where our team is excited to focus attention over the coming year.
With growers often leveraging many different systems to collect and analyze data, we are working on ways to make it easier to connect and visualize Fieldin data alongside external data sources so that growers can get to the insights they need, faster. This includes integrations with other software used for activities such as pesticide reporting, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and other specialized agronomy software.
Machine maintenance and health
In early 2023, we plan to release the new Maintenance Module. This solution centralizes all of your fleet maintenance schedules and operations (across all equipment – tractors, trucks, ATVs, etc.) within the Fieldin app, automatically tracking engine runtime alongside manufacturers’ recommended service schedules. With the Maintenance Module, equipment managers can be more proactive in servicing machinery which helps minimize downtime and protect CapEx investments.
We will continue to roll out Auto-Spray retrofit kits over the coming year across a diverse set of crops and regions. As we collect more data, we will strategically partner with growers to scale implementations at a pace that makes sense for each operation. At the same time, we will increasingly work towards removing the dependency of operators in cabs so that operators gain more freedom to perform higher value activities.
Advanced data insights
Data is only valuable when it’s translated into insights, and every grower has a unique set of needs when it comes to analytics and reporting. Over the coming year, we will be working on ways to make advanced business intelligence more available to growers.
Improved precision tooling
With so many operations happening concurrently on the farm all the time, it’s difficult for supervisors to know whether activities are being carried out according to the instructions provided. One particular area of focus for us in precision farming tooling is rate controllers for spray operations, where we’re working on ways to provide more accurate planning, application, tracking, and reporting of materials used.
Fleet Operations Center for OEMs
Over the past several months, we’ve been working alongside Flory in a pilot program to connect Fieldin smart sensors directly into the Controller Area Network Bus (CAN Bus), or the central brains of their tractor engines. By establishing a direct line of communication between the machine’s engine and Fieldin, we will be able to deliver more accurate and robust diagnostics for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), to remotely monitor, diagnose, and troubleshoot equipment issues.
We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming 2023 events. Bookmark the Fieldin Events page and be sure to stop by and say hello if we are in your area.