Satellite Data Analytics Saving Dairy Farmers Valuable Time with New Grass Management Service

Grass SAT, an innovative, new grass management service is launched today by Rezatec, the geospatial data analytics company, to provide dairy farmers with automated daily updates of grass cover per paddock, and other features, to optimise grazing management decisions throughout the year.

Increasingly, dairy farmers are looking for new ways to save time, cuts costs and improve grass management activities. Currently, many farmers rely on manual methods, for example visual assessment or using a plate meter, which can be time intensive and require frequent manual updates to provide current and accurate estimates of grass cover.

Grass SAT, is an online grass management service for dairy farmers to optimise rotational grazing across their farms. Using a comprehensive grass growth model fed with regular analytics derived from satellite imagery, farmers are presented with a daily update of grass cover per paddock. The metrics are visualised in a secure portal supported with a grazing wedge, sorting grass cover from highest to lowest, as well as valuable decision support information such as number of grazing days per paddock and a colour-coded map of the farm presenting volumes and distribution of grass available.

The service is very easy to use and allows farmers to initially draw their paddocks in a digital map and add herd information before they are presented with their wedge and daily grass cover measurements. Farmers then update the portal with paddock activities, such as grazing or a cutting, and these feed into the model and revaluate the grass cover analytics.

John Brocklehurst, Dairy Farmer, Hilltop Farm, commented, “Utilising as much grazed grass as possible is a top priority KPI for our business and I hope by using Grass SAT it will provide me with more frequent grass measurements of the whole farm without having to walk it. The data is already informing my day to day grazing management and moving forward I hope to identify areas of the farm that are less productive and improve them as well as allocating grass to the cows more efficiently.

Farmers can also pull out paddocks for silage production as well as run multiple wedges if required and new features, including an App, will be available over the coming months.

Philip Briscoe, Chief Operating Officer, Rezatec explained, “We have been developing this product for a few years now and are confident it will make farmers lives much easier. With an initial discounted trial period of two months, farmers can also be confident of the time the service can save them simply by providing an automated daily update of grass cover.”

Grass SAT will also soon be available for beef and sheep farmers as well as general forage producers. For more information about Grass SAT visit the website: www.grass-sat.com.

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For editorial enquiries please contact:

Katie Whittington, Tel: 01865 817579, or email: katie.whittington@rezatec.com

Rezatec provides AHDB with innovative geospatial data analytics to map true extent of potato crops across the UK.

Harwell, Oxfordshire, 2nd October 2018 – Rezatec, the leading provider of geospatial data analytics to the Infrastructure, Forestry and Agribusiness sectors, has been working with The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), to demonstrate the effectiveness of using satellite data to map the extent of potato crops in pilot locations across England and Scotland.

AHDB is the UK’s statutory levy board funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. Its purpose is to inspire farmers, growers and industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. The assessment of innovative technologies that can enable its vision is an important focus for AHDB and this project aims to evaluate the use of satellite data.

Looking at four sites spread across the UK, Rezatec applied its proven crop identification techniques to map locations of potato crops, down to individual fields, some of which just a few hundred square meters in size. A crop health map was then generated to highlight the extent and abundance of each potato field. This enables AHDB to better understand production areas of potatoes in the UK from season to season at a micro level.

Rezatec applies its geospatial data techniques to extract specific spectral indices across the growth cycle to create a signature that identifies the crop, using both optical and radar satellite data sources. By applying its in-house machine learning algorithms to these indices, Rezatec can distinguish potato from other crop types with up to 95% accuracy.

Additionally, through active remote sensing monitoring, Rezatec can also assess variables of crop performance, e.g. health, against the crop model through the growing season, and, using its data science techniques provide growers with critical information to take corrective action and ultimately increase crop yields.

Dr Jim Dimmock, Resource Management Scientist at AHDB summarised: “It is evident from our collaboration with Rezatec that the application of satellite data for mapping crop extent is of great value and compared to more traditional methods, we were impressed by the ability to scale across large areas with high levels of accuracy.”

Dr Andrew Carrel, Chief Technology Officer at Rezatec commented: “Rezatec’s agriculture management services are very versatile, ranging from identifying crops at a field, and even sub-field level, and monitoring crop performance, up to macro-level analytics to support commodity crop trading for multiple end-users including Government and traders.”

Rezatec provides its agricultural management services around the world to a wide range of agricultural end-users from sugar cane and wheat farmers in Mexico to dairy farmers in the UK.

Funding

Rezatec completes follow-on investment led by Harbert European Growth Capital to underpin continued global expansion

World-leading geospatial data analytics company Rezatec has announced a follow-on investment to its 2018 £2m Seed Round equity financing round, with Harbert European Growth Capital now providing a substantial growth debt facility to the Company.  This new facility will lend additional financial support to Rezatec as it continues its rapid rate of new customer acquisition across North America, Africa and Asia Pacific. Rezatec is seeing particularly strong demand for its geospatial data analytics in the Forestry, Infrastructure and Water sectors worldwide. This financing round follows on from a financial year that saw Rezatec subscription revenues grow by 7x from Q1 FY18 to Q4 FY18.

Rezatec plans to significantly expand its portfolio of proprietary geospatial technologies in the coming months. This expansion of Rezatec data science, machine learning and software tools will serve to meet new customer demand in existing vertical markets and beyond. The Company anticipates completing a substantial Series A transaction in the period ahead to finance this expansion of the business and its operations.

Patrick Newton, Chief Executive Officer at Rezatec stated, “We are very pleased to have secured the support of Harbert in building the Rezatec business. Their focus on high growth, innovative technology companies makes them an ideal fit for our business.”

Fahad Khan, Vice President at Harbert European Growth Capital said “We are delighted to partner with Rezatec’s strong management team and give them a global network in addition to capital to help support their growth ambitions. We are pleased to bring our close relationships within the European and American technology sector and welcome Rezatec to a portfolio of over 70 high growth companies”.

Rezatec delivers accurate, cost-efficient, highly valuable and scalable satellite data analytics to optimise the use of natural and man-made assets in the Forestry, Water, Agriculture and Infrastructure sectors.

Mobile app helping Mexican farmers improve sugar cane and wheat yield through the analysis of satellite data

Rezatec has launched a new mobile application aimed at helping Mexican farmers improve crop productivity and stabilise their incomes to facilitate rural community economic development under the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP).

Wheat farming in the Yaqui Valley is at the forefront of new technologies for wheat compared to other parts of the developing world, however, the area was hit by a fungal disease (Karnal bunt), and export profits suffered. The effect from droughts from 1996 to 2004, also contributed to an overall fall in income from agriculture in the Valley of 40%. Average wheat yields are currently around 6.2 tonnes per hectare, with considerable variability from year to year. Annual profits from wheat production in the Valley varied by 60% per tonne from 2009 to 2017, with a steady rise in the total cost of production over time. Better management practices by smallholder farmers for nitrogen application, irrigation and weeds would help to improve yields and productivity.

The sugarcane industry currently generates more than 930,000 direct jobs and employs another 2.2 million people indirectly, contributing a total of around US$2.5 billion a year to the Mexican economy. The average yield is currently close to 70 tonnes of cane per hectare however smallholder farmers have below average productivity partly because they have not adopted modern methods of agriculture. They are also threatened by drought (especially because of under-developed irrigation infrastructure), pests, disease and weeds.

The overall challenge for both the wheat & sugarcane sectors is to transform both traditional extensive as well as modern intensive systems into sustainable systems producing more crop output with better use of resources and this requires better management of the interacting parameters controlling yield.

In response to these challenges, Rezatec has now launched a free mobile application ‘COMPASS V1.0’ (Crop Observation, Management and Production Analysis Service System) aimed at helping wheat and sugarcane smallholder farmers in Mexico, benefit from using Earth Observation (EO) satellite data with in field measurements to reduce production costs and increase crop yields. The ultimate aim is to ensure that farmer incomes become more stable, and therefore directly benefit farming families and rural communities, as well as addressing potential environmental issues.

Mexican COMPASS, is a four-year project launched in December 2016 under the UK Space Agency’s lnternational Partnership Programme (IPP), which aims to address real issues faced by emerging economies using satellite solutions whose outputs lead to a measurable and sustainable economic or societal benefit.

Ray Fielding, Head of IPP stated that “The UK Space Agency is delighted to be working with Rezatec on the Mexican Crop Observation, Management and Production Analysis Service System (COMPASS) project under our lnternational Partnership Programme. The release of this application will provide decision support tools to help Mexican farmers and smallholders to improve their crop management of wheat and sugarcane so that income stability is improved, thereby providing economic and societal benefit.”

Under the project, Rezatec has partnered in the UK with the University of Nottingham, supported by Booker Tate, and in Mexico, with CIMMYT (International Maize & Wheat Improvement Center) and MASCAÑA sugarcane research group from COLPOS (Colegio De Postgraduados).

Andrew Carrel, Chief Technical Officer, Rezatec commented, “Rezatec is excited to be part of the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme, contributing our Earth Observation and Data Science technology to enable positive social, economic and environmental change in Mexico. We look forward to building on the success of this project to help other farming communities around the world.”

The project aims to target at least 1,200 farmers in Mexico during the project, with initially 38 farmers currently engaged and providing invaluable field data via the new mobile app which will be freely available to farmers.  The app will provide a portal for farmers to submit crucial information about their farming activities (such as sowing date, crop type and irrigation) and in return receive free recommendations as to when to undertake such activities in the future to maximum yield, as well as yield predictions.

Javier, one of the wheat farmers currently using the mobile app. said “The COMPASS App v1.0 is going to help me have all the management information from my fields handy and having the app. In the future advising on an optimum irrigation schedule to maximise my yield will be a huge benefit”.

Recently, the project was presented to the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture – SAGARPA, SIAP and INIFAP – and received very positive feedback, as well as offers of support from Government bodies to potentially extend the initiative for wheat and sugarcane farmers nationwide.

The services developed in the project will be sustainable after the funding from the IPP programme ceases through a fee-based subscription model whereby commercial companies, processors, government agencies and crop insurance providers will pay for enhanced datasets, aggregated data and more detailed analysis than the basic free data which is made available to smallholders.

The proven Mexican COMPASS model will be extended to other developing countries growing wheat and sugar cane to increase the viability and returns from using earth observation data to support smallholder farmers.

To find out more about the Compass project, click below.

COMPASS Project Showcase Page
cows grazing

Dairy farmers to benefit from satellite data used to monitor and predict pasture productivity and quality.

Rezatec, in conjunction with the University of Reading, is delivering its PASQUAL (“Monitoring and prediction of PASture QUALity and productivity from satellites”) project to develop an Earth Observation satellite based pasture farming intelligence tool. Through the analysis of multiple remote sensing satellite data sources (visible and radar) and meteorological data, in combination with the University of Reading’s detailed modelling and data-assimilation techniques, the tool will enable dairy farmers to monitor and predict pasture productivity and quality.

Trials are currently being conducted by the University of Reading over a two-year period, initially at controlled research plots, and are now being extended to operational dairy farms. This approach is driving iterative development of models and data products, which will be delivered to users through Rezatec’s geospatial web-portal platform. The platform will be upgraded and extended to support the required data streams and implement the bespoke grass growth models to create an innovative decision support tool for dairy farmers.

Alternative technologies and R&D strategies in this area are scarce, but those that are emerging generally focus on empirical vegetation indices, which can lead to unreliable and inaccurate estimates of PPQ; our proposed approach aims to offer a much more reliable product. Furthermore, most competitors using vegetation indices are focusing on crops, rather than grasslands, despite the fact that dairy production world-wide is 700 million tonnes.

“The proposed work and selected approach will ensure an accelerated route to market of the research currently being conducted by those at the forefront of remote sensing and pasture research, including colleagues at the University’s Centre for Dairy Research (CEDAR), in strong collaboration with practitioners in the dairy farm industry,” commented Professor Anne Verhoef, Principal Investigator of PASQUAL, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, the University of Reading.

This project is innovative both commercially and technically on many fronts. It pushes boundaries beyond current leading-edge world science and technology in the area of obtaining near real time estimates of grass crop productivity and quality. The University of Reading will develop a new model for predicting the productivity and quality of grasslands. This model will be informed by a broad range of data for both model development, calibration and verification. In addition to established local data (farm management/field data, weather data), the model will have direct access to multiple remote sensing satellite data sources including radar data which is well suited to monitoring tasks in cloud covered regions, such as the UK.

Dr Andrew Carrel, Chief Technology Officer, Rezatec added, “The outputs from the data modelling process will be combined with other data on Rezatec’s platform, where further processing will take place using machine learning and data mining techniques to add the predictive analysis that will make the tool highly valuable for the farming end users.”

Rezatec’s platform is designed to deliver high performance data visualization, analytics and decision support to multiple end users, and is highly scalable. It will facilitate the broad use of the farming intelligence tools and services within the UK, Europe and across the globe.

Rezatec shortlisted for BusinessGreen Leaders Awards 2016

BusinessGreen Leaders Awards 2016: Rezatec is shortlisted in the ‘Ecosystem Project of the Year’ category with its peatland integrity mapping and assessment project on Exmoor and Bodmin Moor for South West Water.

The winners to be announced at the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards Ceremony on July 6th in London.

Portsmouth Water uses Earth Observation analysis from Rezatec to understand nitrate pollution

Rezatec, the innovative landscape intelligence company, has been using it unique Earth Observation (EO) techniques to provide Portsmouth Water with detailed insights into potential sources of nitrate pollution in its catchment.

Rising nitrate levels in Groundwater have been a concern of Portsmouth Water for some years and the company has endeavoured to understand more about the sources of this pollution. On top of the rising trend, fluctuations in nitrate levels are often seen to be somewhat correlated to water table levels but it has been suspected that significant ‘spikes’ in nitrate levels at a few of its boreholes may be caused by overland flows terminating in the significant number of chalk pits and sinkholes that are found in a wide band crossing the area’s predominant chalk geology.

The Downs and Harbours Clean Water Partnership, a partnership between Portsmouth Water, the Environment Agency and Natural England’s Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) programme, which has been in operation since 2008, enlisted Rezatec to find out more about how the effects of agricultural landscape management could be affecting the both the sources of drinking water and the environment, particularly the protected habitats of Portsmouth, Langstone and Chichester Harbours.

The Partnership was not only interested in land management related to farming but also that related to equine use, e.g. horse paddocks, stable yards, and dung heaps, which can all produce varying localised sources of nitrate pollution. The latter was included, owing to the significant level of horse ownership in Downs & Harbours project/Portsmouth Water supply areas.

Rezatec looked at the Lovedean and Northbrook areas of Portsmouth Water’s catchment area and used Earth Observation techniques to provide data analysis of the likely overland flow of nitrates, as well as mapping general agricultural land use, including crops types, which can provide an indication on the amount of nutrients and pesticides that could be applied to the land and therefore have an impact on diffuse pollution.  Rezatec then mapped these potential sources along with overland flow paths and sinkholes that allow nitrate pollution to enter the groundwater.

The results are presented in an interactive, online geo-spatial portal with dynamic maps and analytical risk analyses presented as user-friendly graphics and animations that allow Portsmouth Water to visualise their catchment area in a completely different way. This complements existing modelling of nitrate in groundwater and surface water systems  by Amec Foster Wheeler, the environmental consultancy.

Rezatec can aid the work of catchment managers by identifying hotspots of potential agricultural and anthropogenic pollution, mapping these alongside the topographic and hydrological landscape features, particularly sink holes, and analysing all these parameters together to provide a dynamic risk assessment of the likelihood of diffuse pollution across the catchments. This knowledge can then be used as a decision support tool to help develop mitigation strategies for both the Downs and Harbours programme and Portsmouth Water, under its own developing Catchment Management strategy, and local farmers to reduce levels of nitrates in the catchment.

Alastair Stewart is the Project Manager of the Downs and Harbours Clean Water Partnership at Portsmouth Water. He commented: “Rezatec has taken an exciting and innovative approach that may greatly increase our understanding of the relationship between sources of diffuse pollution and the landscape and how this affects the quality of water in the area.”

Philip Briscoe, Marketing Director at Rezatec added: “At Rezatec we thrive on deriving new EO techniques to support water companies improve water quality and reduce operational costs associated with water treatment, ground surveys and compliance. The challenge that Alastair and his colleagues set us to identify sources of nitrate pollution and its interaction with the landscape really played to our skills and experience.”

Rezatec uses advanced, scalable techniques to offer what it has termed ‘landscape intelligence’, which takes large volumes of Earth Observation data and uses it to analyse environmental risk and changes in agricultural land use. Rezatec now works with five UK water companies, including Scottish Water, South West Water and Bristol Water, leading the market in supporting catchment and general water quality management by identifying potential threats to the water supply, in particular from different sources of diffuse pollution.

New Satellite Applications Case Study on Rezatec

Bristol Water uses Rezatec landscape intelligence to support its water catchment management programme

Rezatec is deploying its landscape intelligence portal platform to work with Bristol Water on a ground-breaking project designed to gain a deeper understanding of the impact changing agricultural land use and soil erosion has on water quality in its catchment area.

The initiative has a particular focus on changing land use in the Blagdon Reservoir and Chew Valley Reservoir catchments. Rezatec’s portal based analytics process satellite and ground data to identify changing patterns of soil erosion and agricultural intensification, which have a significant impact on the quality of the water supply. The Rezatec landscape intelligence platform performs a forty year look back and processes data from 1972 to the present day so as to identify both short and long term changes in the landscape.

Landscape factors, such as agricultural practices related to specific crop types, can have a significant bearing on water treatment costs. Diffuse pollution associated with fertilisers and pesticides applied during the crop growth cycle can make its way into upstream water catchments through runoff and soil erosion, necessitating its removal downstream through expensive treatment so as to maintain the quality of the overall water supply.  It is hoped that by identifying potential pollution risks before they become an issue, ongoing water treatment costs and the frequency of acute pollution events can be reduced, and requirements to invest in new water treatment infrastructure will be delayed or even avoided.

Matthew Pitts, Environmental Programme Delivery Manager for Bristol Water, said: “This new and exciting way of understanding our water catchments promises to bring valuable insights into how we can enhance the environment and manage risks to water treatment and supply.”

He added: “Using innovative, cutting-edge landscape analytics, we’re confident that we can gain a better understanding of the potential pollution risks within our catchment. This will help us to focus efforts towards achieving improved water quality in our reservoirs, bringing ecological benefits, reduced treatment costs and ultimately better value for our customers.”

Rezatec’s Philip Briscoe commented: “From our analysis of different sources of Earth, airborne and ground data, we derive high-value data products which provide our customers with business insight on a macro and micro scale. We’re delighted to be providing Bristol Water with landscape intelligence that helps them to make better business decisions to derive tangible benefits for both the company and its customers.”

The data products are accessible on a subscription basis to clients through Rezatec’s landscape intelligence portal that allows water companies to view detailed environmental information about their catchment areas, ultimately supporting informed business decisions. Rezatec analytics help manage risk to the water supply by monitoring changes to agricultural land use and peat and soil integrity at a local and regional scale.

As well as Bristol Water, Rezatec is bringing similar insights to other water companies and looks set to benefit many more in the coming months.

Rezatec featured on Farming Today, Radio 4 in response to big data release annoucement by Liz Truss, Defra

In response to the announcement today from Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for Defra, Rezatec featured on Farming Today, Radio Four to comment on the news that huge amounts of free environmental data to be released to help stimulate the farming and environmental sectors. Great for Earth Observation (EO) companies, such as Rezatec, who will be able to develop many more cost-effective apps for agri, water & environment sectors from yield optimisation to water and soil management.