New Product: Valley Insights

Published online: Oct 14, 2019 New Products
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Valley Irrigation is gaining traction with the initial launch of its Valley Insights service. Through the partnership between Valley Irrigation and Prospera Technologies announced in February 2019, the limited release of Valley Insights has demonstrated successful results this growing season, turning data into useful, actionable information for growers in Washington and Nebraska. The service has exceeded expectations by already reaching its targeted goal of 1 million acres by 2020.

Valley Insights is designed to move growers closer to autonomous crop management, generating greater returns while using fewer inputs and resources. Using computer vision, the service scouts to identify areas of over- or under-irrigation and related plant stress. It goes beyond typical aerial imaging, using artificial intelligence to analyze the visual data, detect issues and alert the grower so proper actions can be taken.

“Our initial release has been focused in the Northwest, where a late winter created a challenging season for growers,” says Troy Long, Valley’s senior director of product management. “They would have been hard-pressed for time to sift through stacks of aerial images provided by other services, searching for potential irrigation-related issues. Valley Insights analyzes the images and alerts growers to possible crop threats before they become big problems. It has saved our users a lot of valuable time they can now dedicate elsewhere.”

Henry Boersma, who grows diversified row crops outside Moses Lake, Wash., began piloting Valley Insights this season. He says his crops are already benefiting from the technology.

“When Valley Insights identifies under-watering in certain sectors and alerts us that sprinklers appear to be plugged on certain spans, that’s exactly what’s happening,” he says. “We have another eye in the field, so we can identify issues and make corrections long before we could see stress on our crops with the naked eye. We can fix minor issues before they become major problems, which saves us both time and money.”

More and more, growers are also contending with increased resource restriction. In a changing climate, water restriction represents the new normal for growers across the country, and AI-enabled technologies like Valley Insights are helping them maintain yields while using fewer resources.

Thad Taylor, sales manager of Lad Irrigation South, says his customers used Valley Insights to do everything from programming a variable rate irrigation table to improving water application.

“One of my customers has very little water allocated to his operation,” says Taylor. “By using Valley Insights, he makes sure his crops get an even application. He’s able to fix issues with his irrigation equipment promptly so he’s not wasting his limited supply of water.”

Valley has integrated user feedback from the limited release of Valley Insights, prioritizing product development without sacrificing its commitment to simplicity and ease of use—all with the goal of enhancing the service prior to additional expansion in 2020.

“Valley and Prospera each bring unique expertise to the partnership, and together we’re bringing greater value to growers that undoubtedly will make a difference in overall crop health,” says Darren Siekman, Valley’s vice president of water management and business development.