Kris Poulson, Sentera on the Agriculture Technology Podcast
“We don’t want to disrupt this market space. We want to assist it.” That’s what Kris Poulson, Vice President of Agriculture at Sentera had to say about his company’s role in the ever-popular, ever-growing drone industry.
Host Tony Kramer invited Kris on the podcast for two reasons. First, to talk about Sentera and the exciting offerings it has in the drone, sensors, and software space. Second, to officially announce the new partnership between RDO Equipment Co. and Sentera.
Here are a few of the highlights from the conversation. Listen to the full episode here.
I’d like to start by getting to know you, a little bit about your background, and how you got your start in the industry.
Thanks for having me as part of the podcast. I grew up on family farm in rural ND, then went to NDSU for my degree in agriculture economics.
Since then, I’ve had the unique pleasure of starting three agriculture businesses; the last was a crop consulting business that used remote sensing to diagnose field problems. We were predominantly using Sentera sensors and, when we sold the business, Sentera approached me to head up their ag division. And I’ve been with them two years now.
A little bit about Sentera, it’s a specialty sensor company focused on building high quality, lightweight sensors that mount on UAVs. We also manufacture and curate UAVs, and we build specialty software to store, organize and share the UAV data with people.
We’re very excited that RDO Equipment Co. recently joined in a partnership with Sentera. Can you explain that?
RDO Equipment Co. is going to sell our UAVs, sensors and software. It’s really exciting and unique because now they’re going to have another service offering to help growers from an agronomic standpoint.
You mention Sentera’s products being drones, sensors, software. Can you touch on those?
We manufacture a fixed-wing drone called the Phoenix. It’s lightweight, hand-launch, belly-land drone that offers about 70 minutes of flight time.
That’s the one UAV we manufacture, but we’re predominantly curators of UAVs. We don’t want to disrupt this market space, we want to assist it, and allow people to capture high-quality data from whatever platform works for them. So we make sure our sensors can mount on different drones to give more utility to our clientele as well as out in the market space.
Our third and most important offering is software. We built AgVault, which flies the UAV and pulls in the imagery, stores, organizes and makes it shareable. We have unique relationships with companies and I’ll highlight one, the MyJohnDeere Operations Center. You’re able to push this data, right in the operations center. This is breakthrough technology, there’s no one else I’m aware of that can capture imagery with a drone, then in two or three button clicks, push it out to the cab of a tractor so you can display it. So it’s really adding great utility to the market space.
Any success stories?
I view this technology one way and all the success stories start the same way. This, it’s a tool. It’s a tool in the toolbox that comes out at the appropriate time like a hammer or crescent wrench to do a specific job.
One of the most common things we see is people will capture that real-time data with the drone and the Sentera sensors, and pull it in with the software. There, they’ll either see a problem or see that things are good, all in real-time. If there is a problem, they can quantify that within our software, measure it, then push it out to a prescription tool to remedy a problem, and go out there and address it. It’s not hours of scouting, looking around a few days, this happens in minutes.
Once you can see your crop from above, quantify that you’re doing things right or wrong, and see how that’s affecting it, the opportunities are endless. There are multiple ways to add utility to the farm and ROI benefit.
Kris and Tony went into greater detail about the three kinds of Sentera sensors, Ag Vault software, and integration with the MyJohnDeere Operations Center, so please listen to the entire episode. Catch up on older episodes, and be sure to subscribe to the Agriculture Technology podcast so you never miss an episode.
Host Tony Kramer is a product specialist at RDO Equipment Co. To contact Tony with questions or about being a guest on the podcast, find him on Twitter at @RDOTonyK.