As part of its Distributor Partners Program, Augmenta hosted its inaugural Distributor's Field Day in September this year. The event was designed to introduce potential representatives from six countries to the Augmenta Field Analyzer (AFA) – the world's first fully autonomous real-time variable-rate fertilizer application system.
Participants came from countries as diverse as France, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Spain, and Ukraine. All are highly experienced distributors of farm machinery and agricultural sales experts. After being shown Augmenta's offices in Athens, Greece, they were given exclusive access to the company's R&D laboratory and a sneak peek at the additional functionalities planned for the AFA.
A three-day initialization and training program followed. This was undertaken at Augmenta's testing & pilot facility in the rural heartland of the Thessalian plains, central Greece.
Participants were shown how the AFA can be quickly fitted to ISOBUS equipment or retrofitted to any ordinary tractor trailing an actuated spreader/sprayer. From its mount on the cabin roof, it was explained that the AFA uses a spectral camera array to scan the fields ahead as the farmer drives along. This allows it to create its own, on-going vegetative index of crop health. The AFA continuously determines the amount of fertilizer required to compensate for growth variability and ensure an optimum yield. This is automatically applied to the field by the AFA controlled variable rate spreader/sprayer.
The AFA makes the imprecision of blanket fertilizer application an unnecessary relic of the past. Moreover, unlike the prescription maps, drones and satellites can create, Augmenta's solution requires no additional logistics or delay. The participants saw for themselves that it is real-time, on-the-ground and all done in a single, hassle-free pass. The upshot is that it substantially improves efficiency by reducing inputs and waste, while significantly improving productivity and earnings. It is also far kinder to the environment.
“Seeing the AFA in action made us all realize just how good it is,” explained one of the participants. “Not only is it easy to install, but once set up, the technology works for the farmer, rather than add layers of unnecessary complication to farming operations.”
Far from being a stand-alone device, the AFA is an integral part of a whole system. All field data is automatically uploaded to the Augmenta web platform via the cellar network. It was demonstrated that this data automatically presents farmers with an easy-to-understand graphical interface of field analytics. Return on investment reports, automatic field snapshots of problematic areas, and fleet management tools are all part of the package. The data is also utilized by machine-learning algorithms so that the system improves itself with use.
“The ingenuity of the system is that it's so simple to set up and use,” remarked one participant. “The AFA is truly remarkable – but the fact that it comes with a web platform which offers fully integrated real-time analytics and tools really does make it amazing,” said another.
In all, the demonstrative and instructional program lasted thirty hours. However, it wasn't all hard-work. Participants were treated to traditional Greek food at authentic taverns each evening, allowing them to get to know many Augmenta Team members on a more social basis.
“The guys from Augmenta are great. Not only did they instruct and answer all our questions, but they managed to create a fun atmosphere in the process. It made the event very enjoyable,” commented a participant.
“Augmenta is founded on a 'go get 'em, can-do' culture. We were delighted to have similar-minded people at the Distributor Field Day,” said Dimitri Evangelopoulos, General Manager and Augmenta Co-founder. “Every single one of them is now on-board, representing us in their respective countries and regions. It's obvious that unprecedented capabilities of the AFA speak for themselves.”
“I'm so excited to be part of all this. The AFA is a real game-changer set to take agri-business by storm. I'd thoroughly recommend it to fellow distributors and farmers alike,” concluded another of the participants.
If you are interested in joining Augmenta's Distributor Partners Program, simply click here.