Farmers are increasingly interested in remote sensing, based on the promise that it’s going to help them make better management decisions. Today, the data is more easily interpretable. And with the connectivity piece improving, getting your data, to and from the cab is becoming easier.

One thing I have noticed going into 2020 is that I think remote sensing tools today — ones that are either mounted on tractor cab, or on your sprayer or even active optical sensors that can be mounted to a drone — are going to be a big deal. It's important for people to realize that when we talk about things like active optical sensors, this it isn't a camera, per se.

These things don't generate imagery, but what they do generate is the actual crop map that can be utilized to help you make things like nitrogen recommendations or tell where you have a potential insect problem or make yield estimations on a field. And I'm starting to see how big resurgence of interest and effort.

Sensors were a data technology, when people starting using them about 15 years ago, but it was a difficult technology to use. The connectivity piece wasn't there. User interfaces were clunky. But now I'm starting to see a lot more effort in that space. 

What I think we're going to see in the spring, when we start looking at crop care fertilizer applications and those kinds of things, farmers are going to notice that there's a lot of companies out there starting to push these kind of remote sensing tools. Because of now ease of use and immediate actionable data that can be utilized for a recommendation is a lot further along than it had been.

Hear more from Dr. Ray Asebedo in our Strip-Till Farmer podcast series, sponsored by Topcon Agriculture