At the start of the 2017 season, BASF deployed Arable Mark devices in wheat across a variety of microclimates to collect critical field-level metrics like leaf wetness, precipitation, temperature, and vegetative growth. Leaf wetness is a proxy for disease risk, since wheat is prone to pathogens in hot, wet, and humid conditions. Beyond knowing disease risk, growers must also know when is an optimal time to address the risk. If it is a windy day, the spray will blow away, dispersing before reaching the crop it is meant to protect. If it is a rainy day, it will wash off before having any effect, possibly into local waterways, with unknown downstream consequences. And finally, growers will want to assess plants’ response to the applications, which can be interpreted through growth indicators like NDVI and chlorophyll index.
Each field had two devices in the trial, in order to compare data for anomalies. The trial ran for two years to capture Arable’s performance through the full spectrum of weather fluctuations and management operations. BASF selected a subset of some of their most innovative customers who could be trusted with scrutinizing how the new infield weather data compared with the current remote-sensed data, and provide unvarnished feedback on their experience with the new technology. They would be asked not only about data accuracy, but about user experience; if BASF were to partner with Arable, they needed to know that the technology would be simple and scalable in order to put their weight behind for their own customers. Similar, smaller trials also ran in Argentina and Brazil.
Arable’s data and crop analytics were provided in real time, and integrated with recommendations to customers. Customers accessed the data in the familiar FIELD MANAGER interface, connected on the xarvio™ backend through the Arable API.