In the ever-evolving landscape of agriculture, technology has become an indispensable ally for farmers worldwide. One visionary at the forefront of this agricultural revolution is Lalit Gautam, the Founder and CEO of SenseGrass. His pioneering company, SenseGrass, is a beacon of innovation, offering 360-degree farming solutions that harness cutting-edge technology to transform the way we cultivate our lands. At the heart of SenseGrass's mission lies the commitment to make farming super-efficient and easy for farmers. To achieve this goal, the company leverages a powerful trifecta of tools: Nano-Satellite Mapping, Rover Bots, and AI-based mobile and web applications. These advanced technologies combine to create a seamless and intelligent ecosystem that redefines the very essence of farming. In this Delivery Rank’s article, we will explore the remarkable journey of Lalit Gautam and the incredible impact of SenseGrass on the world of agriculture. From modern farming techniques to eco-friendly practices, the story of SenseGrass is a testament to the transformative potential of technology in agriculture.
Let me explain how it works at Sensegrass. We utilize four different types of datasets for our conservation efforts. First, we have our patented soil sensors, which aren't your ordinary ones. These sensors measure various parameters, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, pH, moisture, EC, salinity, and more, providing data from below the soil.
Next, we utilize data from nano satellites and hyperspectral satellites that collect information from above the soil. We also factor in weather data for the surrounding area. The fourth type is user input data, which comes directly from the users.
So, we're combining data from below the soil (from the sensors), above the soil (from the satellites), environmental data (from the weather), and user-provided information. All this data is processed by our AI, which calculates hundreds of ideal data points and generates precise recommendations for both corporations and individual users, aiding in their decision-making.
This is how our entire product operates. Now, let's discuss how these satellites and ground data benefit specific users. I'll provide two examples, starting with a large corporate user. This corporation happens to be a major seed company based in the US Midwest. Their seed production quality is heavily reliant on soil quality. If the soil lacks the proper moisture and nutrients, it affects seed quality.
To address this, we integrated our soil sensors and satellite data to manage soil quality. Over an entire crop season, which typically lasts six to seven months, we initially identified 80 acres with soil quality issues. Before seeding, we provided information about which parts of their fields had better fertility and where they could increase seed planting. We also identified 80 acres with tillage problems and suggested placing more sensors there.
As they began planting seeds, we continued to offer insights. First, we conducted soil testing for them, which they typically do manually before seeding. Using our sensors, we provided information on soil fertility and nitrogen levels from the previous crop season. This allowed them to adjust their fertilization and seeding practices accordingly for better seed growth and moisture control.
With the planting complete, the chief crop growth phase begins, and we utilize both nano-satellites and hyperspectral satellite data to provide information, including the NDIS (Normalized Difference Infrared Index) and other critical data, such as soil temperature. This ensures that the seeds are exposed to the right temperature, moisture, and fertilizer conditions. The aim is to improve overall seed productivity by 38%. In the first crop season, we achieved a remarkable 22% increase, and in the subsequent crop season, following our practices, we achieved an impressive 38% increase in total seed production. This isn't just about quantity; it's also about quality. The company reported significant improvements in seed quality, providing better yields for their customers.
Now, I'll share an example from a small or mid-sized farmer. For these growers, the most significant challenges are high input costs, low yields, and reduced profitability. Using our satellite data and rover-based sensors, we can determine the most fertile parts of their fields. We provide recommendations, such as adjusting nitrogen levels, which can lead to an 18% reduction in input costs and a 15% increase in yield. For such growers, with an average acreage of 60 to 65 acres, we've lowered input costs by up to 18% in the first season and 25% in the second crop season. Additionally, we've increased yields by up to 35% between the two crop seasons. This translates to saving water, reducing nitrogen and phosphorus usage, minimizing the need for fertilizers, and also cutting labor costs tied to manual soil testing and analytics. These savings have generated an additional profit of around $18 to $20 per acre, fostering more sustainable farming practices.
I want to emphasize that it's not just about improving yield and cutting input costs; it's also about sustainability. By reducing nitrogen, carbon emissions, and water usage, we've significantly improved the sustainability index for both corporate entities and farmers. The carbon footprint practices we've implemented contribute to a more sustainable approach, preserving resources and the environment.
Currently, there are two types of technology available in the market - the general satellite and the hyperspectral imagery satellite. The general satellites, like Sentinel and Landsat, offer pixel values at 30 meters. On the other hand, the hyperspectral imagery satellites provide much higher resolution at 0.5 meters per pixel. Private companies are now entering the market by launching their own nano-satellites. It's important to note that we do not operate our own nano-satellites or engage in the satellite business. Instead, we procure satellite images from various public and private sources.
General satellite images have an update frequency of about five to six days, while hyperspectral and nano-satellite images can provide daily or even hourly data, depending on your budget and requirements. These satellite images typically offer raw data, including images of your fields, with pixel values as low as 0.5 to 0.1 meters, enabling detailed observation.
What sets us apart is our ability to capture soil moisture, soil nitrogen, and other parameters using satellite images, even without the use of additional sensors. Other companies typically focus on the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index). We take the raw satellite images and transform them into different indices, such as soil moisture, soil organic carbon, and vegetation indices, using our own formulas and processing scripts. These indices are then converted into heat maps, and the pixel values are used for analytics.
As mentioned earlier, we provide analytics based on satellite data, but our unique approach combines this information with data from our four datasets, which include sensors and satellites. This allows us to offer highly personalized recommendations. While general satellite images with 30-meter pixel values are suitable for basic vegetation index assessments, for more precise and personalized information, especially regarding parameters like nitrogen levels in the soil, soil temperatures, and soil organic carbon, nano-satellite images with their higher resolution are highly beneficial.
The mobile and web application we've developed is AI-based and known as AI Genomics. We are the pioneers in introducing AI genomics, and you can think of it as ChatGPT but for agriculture. Just like ChatGPT is powered by prompts and keywords, AI Genomics operates in a similar manner.
Let me explain how AI Genomics works and its usefulness for farmers, along with its unique features. Imagine you and I are both farmers, living side by side, perhaps in California or Iowa. We both cultivate the same crops, let's say corn or strawberries, and we might share similar soil conditions and weather. However, we are unique individuals, and our farming practices can differ greatly. You might use more fertilizers, while I use fewer. You might adjust your water usage differently than I do. You might conduct soil testing twice a year, while I do it once every two years. These variations in human behavior pose a significant challenge for farmers and growers.
The biggest problem for farmers, not only in the United States but worldwide, is getting tailored advice. In the U.S., agronomists are available to conduct soil testing and provide recommendations. However, in many parts of the world, such agricultural expertise may not be as accessible or robust.
This is where our AI Genomics comes into play. It calculates hundreds of ideal data points, taking into account factors like crop variety, soil quality, topography, location, weather conditions, and, most importantly, your unique farming practices and inputs. With this data, it generates highly personalized recommendations. For instance, it might suggest, "Hey, Katrina, given your specific use of nitrogen and water, in your particular conditions, you should try this approach." Meanwhile, it might advise me, "Lalit, based on your farming methods, you should consider doing this and that."
This is why we refer to it as AI Genomics. It's like having your personal agronomist at your side. While human agronomists typically visit once in a while or during specific crop seasons, AI Genomics provides continuous, real-time advice. Whenever something changes in your field, it immediately alerts you with recommendations. Whether it's about reducing input costs, adjusting fertilizer usage, optimizing moisture levels in specific areas, or other guidance, it's like having a personal, 24/7 agronomist.
This application is immensely valuable for users as it helps save costs, safeguard crops from damage, and offers tailored, real-time guidance.
That's an essential question. Education, awareness, and every aspect of agriculture are of paramount importance. Agriculture is one of the most traditional, old-school industries, even in the United States, not to mention the rest of the world. This indicates the challenge in the global context since the U.S. is relatively advanced in this regard. Farmers and growers often base their agricultural practices on ancestral wisdom and accumulated knowledge passed down through generations.
Engaging with farmers can be one of the most challenging tasks in the world. Not because they are orthodox, but because they hold dear their ancestral wisdom and traditional practices, which are deeply rooted in their way of life. Sense Graph is among the first companies globally that consider and incorporate this ancestral wisdom, aligning human intelligence with AI intelligence to create recommendation engines. We integrate these traditional practices and wisdom with AI and other data science tools to offer highly personalized recommendations.
Convincing farmers often involves providing them with case study reports, comparative lab tests versus soil tests, offering free and paid pilot programs. These approaches help build trust and acceptance. Articles and media coverage, such as what your company is doing, play a significant role in this process. Farmers, despite their rural backgrounds, are highly connected within their communities and societies. Success stories within the farming community often create a ripple effect. When one farmer succeeds with a new technology or approach, others are keen to follow suit. The agricultural industry generally lacks jealousy, and successful results encourage farmers to embrace new technologies and practices.
Thus, sharing good articles, presenting successful case studies at rural events, providing convincing white papers, and showcasing the benefits of new technologies are ways to persuade farmers and growers to adopt such innovations. Agriculture is a critical global industry, and finding innovative technologies and approaches is essential to secure the future of food production. Breaking down barriers and encouraging farmers to embrace these technologies is vital for the growth and sustainability of the agricultural sector.
As the CEO of Sensors, I believe that my unique background as a third-generation farmer, born and raised in India, has provided me with a valuable perspective. I have personally experienced the challenges faced by growers and farmers, which allows me to understand the issues from both sides. I've witnessed the problems in the small to mid-scale markets in India, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and I've also seen the challenges faced by large family farms in the United States. This dual perspective drives both my short-term and long-term goals.
In the short term, my aim is to build a robust product that draws from the wealth of experience, ancestral wisdom, and traditional practices of farmers. By combining these insights with cutting-edge AI and other tools, I hope to provide a solution that benefits the farming community. However, my long-term vision extends far beyond just a product.
In the long term, I aspire to create an operating system or platform that empowers every farmer and grower across the globe. My vision transcends geographic boundaries, encompassing farmers not only in the U.S. and India but all around the world. This system would provide them with personalized analytics and guidance, merging their traditional wisdom with modern technology. The goal is to enhance overall productivity while simultaneously reducing costs. Moreover, it promotes sustainable practices, a crucial consideration given that approximately 35% of land and soil is degrading, even as the global population continues to rise.
To ensure that we can feed the growing population and prevent potential conflicts arising from food scarcity, we must adopt sustainable practices. We must preserve our land, soil, and water resources. I envision a future where farmers have access to analytics and tools that enable them to practice sustainable farming, much like software engineers working with their tools. I aspire to build a substantial corporate ecosystem that supports farmers and growers in implementing systematic practices, increasing their yields, and reducing input costs. My overarching objective is to collaborate closely with governments, large corporations, and private entities to facilitate sustainable food production. I believe that this approach will bring benefits to all stakeholders in the industry.
This long-term vision underscores the significance of companies like Sensors and acknowledges that they require patience and perseverance to address some of the most critical challenges faced by the agricultural industry on our planet.
If you would like to find out more about Sensegrass, visit https://sensegrass.com/