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Agriculture Technology Podcast Ep. 154: Ag-Analytics

14 Oct 2021

Ag-Analytics is a software company specializing in the agricultural sector.

While Ag-Analytics offers several solutions to growers, landowners, and developers, this episode focuses on one of its solutions: ProfitLayers.

In a broad sense, ProfitLayers provides farmers with the tools they need to be able to investigate the effectiveness of their in-field operations.

The ProfitLayers tool creates location-based profit maps for a grower's field, with or without precision equipment data. Precision data can easily be integrated to perform advanced analysis, including analysis by variety and by zone,

Corey Jones, Customer Success Specialist with Ag-Analytics joins host Tony Kramer to discuss ProfitLayers and more about the company in this episode.


Learn more about Ag-Analytics and their solutions by visiting their website

You can find past podcast episodes by visiting our Podcast website

Have precision ag questions? We have the answers. Find a specific channel dedicated to answering your precision technology questions: Precision Ag Answers 


View the entire transcript here:

Tony Kramer: Hi, I'm Tony Kramer with RDO Equipment Company. Thanks for tuning into another episode of the Agriculture Technology Podcast.

Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 154. Today we are going to be talking about Ag-Analytics.

I'm very excited to welcome Corey Jones, who is the Customer Success Specialist with Ag-Analytics. Thank you for joining me on the show today, Corey. To get started, let's hear a little bit more about you and your background, and how you got involved in the industry.

Corey Jones: Absolutely, Tony. Thank you so much for having me on today. My background is actually not what you might expect. My previous experiences are mostly in education, specifically history. Really my main connection to the agricultural world comes from my upbringing, grew up in a small country town, surrounded by Mennonites, so horse and buggies. Growing up thinking that they were representative of farmers, imagine my surprise when I saw how far the industry had come and how much technology had been incorporated in agriculture.

Tony: That is a very fun and unique story. You talk about Mennonite colonies, very traditional horse and buggy, and very little to no technology, and look where we are today and the company that you work with. That's a really neat story on how you got back to the ag industry. With that, Corey, let's dive into the show. First, I want to ask you the question. There's one specific product that we're going to dive into that Ag-Analytics offers. First, I just want to know or get a company overview of what or who is Ag-Analytics.

Corey: In a broad sense, Ag-Analytics is a software company specializing within the agricultural sector. We started four years ago here in Ithaca, New York. Our now CEO was a professor at Cornell who initially built ProfitLayers, which is our main tool as a passion project. Soon he partnered with some Deere dealerships and quickly grew a commercial product for growers across the country.

Tony: ProfitLayers. You mentioned it there, it's the meat and potatoes of Ag-Analytics, and you talked about how it all started. It's really a neat story about how you set a passion project there, coming out from a professor at Cornell. Let's talk or let's dive in deeper into ProfitLayers. Just starting out very broad, Corey, what is ProfitLayers? Then we'll dive into each section after that.

Corey: Really that's a two-part question. First, you have what does it do? Then how does it do it? In a broad sense, what ProfitLayers does is it provides farmers with the tools they need to be able to investigate the effectiveness of their in-field operations. If they had a test application or multiple variables, being able to find out whether those actually paid off and how they affected their ROIs.

Then how it does it, it really all starts with the data. We have integrations with John Deere Ops Center. We can pull that data in automatically, generate all of those layers for you, we then layer them together so you can really see how your costs, and revenue stack up on every little pixel within your field, and then we give you this nice color-coded map so you can quickly see where your profits are higher, where they're lower, and then use different analysis tools to further investigate what is driving those profits.

Tony: This is really a-- It's a financial or it's a decision-making tool within the ag industry, and within-- Like you were saying, so correct me if I'm wrong, but a lot of the stuff that ProfitLayers utilize is the agronomic data that is already being collected by the farmers. Correct?

Corey: Absolutely.

Tony: Then once it gets, or once you collect that agronomic data, maybe it's a seeding map or it's a harvest yield map, what do you do with it, within ProfitLayers?

Corey: Once that data is pulled in, you will see them separated by harvest, seeding, applications, and then field passes. Really what we tried to do was stay true to the raw data from the integration, but make it so the user can get started really quickly. In order to input all of your costs for all these different operations, because that is the one piece that is not captured within just the monitoring equipment, we pre-populate all those costs and then make it very easy for you to go in and change them however you need, so just make sure your costs are right, you're looking at the layers you want to look at, and then we automatically put them together and show them up for you.

Tony: That was another question I was going to have is when we talk about profit or loss, or we talk about these maps and reports that are being generated, obviously, there's a price that gets put on it. My one question would be, as everybody pays different amount of money for their seed, for their fertilizer, for their crop protection chemistries, but within ProfitLayers, you mentioned you do have the ability to manipulate and adjust based on what your farm-specific prices, correct?

Corey: Correct. We will fill in those values based on your location, some historical calculations, and different background math that we do for you. Then once you get in there, if you need to adjust those values, there's just a simple text box that you can change. Or if you want to make changes across the entire operation, you can use the price converter to just find the seed or the variety or the tank mix that you need to adjust, adjust that price once and you can save it across your entire operation.

Tony: That makes it really simple for any grower, whether you just want to use a market average of what you guys are starting the user with, or if you really want to dive in and get very specific to your farm based on what you paid. Now, that being said, you talked about tank mixes, and we talked about seeding and harvest. This isn't just using your harvest map layer, this is looking at every operation across the farm. Is that right?

Corey: Absolutely. You're really touching on a big trend within ag where there's this misconception that all you have to do is look at your yield map because ultimately that's all that matters. It's true that the yield map does give you a snapshot of how productive you were for the year, but if you're not incorporating everything that went into getting you up to that level of production, then you're really not seeing the whole picture, and that's really what our product allows you to do.

Tony: We keep saying ProfitLayers, or we talk about maps. Generating a profit map is not the only tool and/or report within ProfitLayers. What other types of charts or tools can we see in ProfitLayers?

Corey: With the profit map, you can split it up into zones, either generated automatically based on where your applications were applied, or we can tie in SSURGO soil types so that you can see how your profits vary based on soil zones within your field, or you can manually split up your field, really however you want, and we will calculate the average profits of each section

You can also see a variety of data geospatially on your field if you can't quite remember where those different varieties you planted lined up. We have a cost chart, so you can see a pie chart of all of the costs that went into your field. Also, a scatter plot, so you can compare elevation to profit or a variable seeding to harvest, and really look at the data to just gain different insights. That's just dipping our toes in. There's quite a few other tools that I could get into as well.

Tony: That's really cool. Just the fact that you're not just looking at the agronomic data of seeding application and harvest, but you mentioned there that you can also dive into different soil types and varieties of differences, and even elevation so you can really start to make educated decisions based off of many different factors, not just a simple yield map.

That is a really cool way to analyze what's going on in the farm as far as profit loss and everything that's being done, especially I would imagine that you've worked with some in the past, but customers that like to do on-farm trials or they like to run a trial strip or learning blocks, whatever it may be. They're able to break out those zones in the field and really put a cost, put a number to them. Correct?

Corey: Absolutely. Not only can they break those out within the zone analysis, but they can actually look at multiple maps together and see how the profit map lines up with the different zones within the field and even compare that to elevation to see how those factors work together to impact their profits.

Tony: As we talk here, we're answering this next question that I have, but I just want to hear it from you, Corey. What are the big benefits to growers utilizing ProfitLayers?

Corey: Something that we've said a couple of times is that this is cool software. You can do some awesome things with it, but it needs to be more than cool. You have to actually financially benefit from it, and these tools very much help growers financially benefit. It helps them shift their focus from looking at just production to really profits, and seeing the whole picture when they're trying to decide whether different varieties or applications are worth using. We know that our average user is going to be relatively older, 57, and doesn't want overly complicated tools. We really try to keep our interface simple and intuitive. Your average joke can hop on and figure it out for himself.

Tony: Yes. That is definitely a common theme within the ag industry, is keeping it simple, keeping the user face very easy to use. I really like hearing that coming out of what you guys are offering. Now, ProfitLayers is not the only tool that you guys offer. What are some of the other things that customers could potentially get out of Ag-Analytics?

Corey: ProfitLayers is the tool that incorporates the precision ag data. We do have other data sets and services that don't require that data to function. For instance, we have a product called data layers. Consider it the cousin to ProfitLayers. Rather than being fueled by your own precision data, it is fueled by a compilation of publicly available data sets that we scoured the internet to find for you. You can see things like SSURGO soil types, polaris soil quality elevation data based on government surveys, crop history from satellite images, crop health through NDV aerial imagery, growing degree days, just a real vast amount of public data that you can access for your own fields to gain more insight, or for other fields. It can be used as a scouting tool if you're trying to look into picking up a field for the next year. We also have some additional services, which many are specific to the US and Canada.

I should note most of data layers is from American sources, so that is specific to the US, but we also have on-demand UAVs through Farm Flight. On-demand soil testing through Devon. Those two are available in the US and Canada. On the global scale, we have our partnership with DIGS, drainage water management, consulting and engineering. For any of these services, if you are interested you and just go to and check out those services, fill out a no-obligation order in just a few minutes, and that will connect you with our partners. I would also like to note that the and NDVI satellite coverage is available in certain countries throughout the world.

Tony: You guys have a suite of tools that are available to growers that are obviously beneficial. We talked about all the stuff with ProfitLayers. You mentioned the data layers. I think that is so cool. There there's all these free platforms of data out there provided by private companies or the government, but it's sometimes hard to find them. For you guys to take that work to scour the internet, to find these and then incorporate them into what you guys are calling data layers makes it very simple for a grower that's looking for that information.

With all of the stuff that you guys have to offer, do you have any sort of a success worry that you'd like to share with the listeners about something that you guys worked with? Whether it was a dealership or a farmer or whoever it may be and at the end of the day, it just really put a smile on your face.

Corey: There is one good example that really sticks out. I've referenced it a few times in following conversations, but it was just a really unique situation that I even think about now, it makes me smile. I was on a demo with a grower coming out of the Midwest. He had integrated prior to the demo, which is generally what we recommend. After I had taken him through the tools and explained everything, we decided to switch roles, let him show me his screen, log in and walk me through his data so I could help him get started up. Looking at his data. He saw that he had a test application for parts of certain fields that he was trying out that year and he really didn't know whether it was going to pay off or not.

A buddy had talked to him about it, convinced him it was a good product, but he wasn't too sure about the buddy, so he really wanted to know for himself. The great thing about this guy and this call is after just a couple of minutes of me talking him through things, I stopped talking and just watched him use the tools and he sure enough he was able to figure, "Okay, this is where I put this application. This is where I didn't have it and here are my profits where I had the application and here's where it didn't. Wow. It's about $50 higher where I put this application. That's awesome. Let me check another field." He hopped into another field, did the same analysis and had similar results.

Just a few minutes of watching him play around he realized, "Wow, this application really paid off. It made me about 50 bucks more per acre. Across a half a dozen fields, I need to use this more next year, and he just did some mental math realized just in those few minutes, the product paid for itself and he got subscribed right there on the call." That was certainly the easiest demo I've ever had and definitely stood out in my mind.

Tony: Yes. That right there is the perfect example of utilizing this tool. A lot of times in the ag industry, my neighbors use this product, but my buddy down south, he uses that product and to be able to use ProfitLayers to really dial in on your farm, your operation and figure out what product is gonna benefit you or what practice may potentially benefit you. That that is the bread and butter of what ProfitLayers is gonna offer. Now, you had mentioned it in your success story, and you also mentioned it earlier, but you have full API integration with the operation center. All of the data, anybody that's utilizing the operation center, all of that data automatically flows into ProfitLayers, correct?

Corey: Correct. Not only does it flow in automatically, but once you make that connection once you don't have to go in and manually sync. We have automatic data sync with the app center. If you're doing a post-calibration or if you're applying new product or just throughout the year new data comes in, it will automatically sync with ProfitLayers. Beyond that. You can even push your profit map back into the op center.

This will live as an extra layer within both field analyzer and field analyzer beta. The great thing about that is it allows you to work more closely hand in hand with your John Deere dealer because if there's something you want your dealer to be able to check out and give you some feedback, and if you are connected with them via the op center, pushing that profit map back allows them to see it too, so very flexible to meet your needs.

Tony: There we go again with the ease of the user interface and how easy it is to use the tool, you make the connection, the data flows automatically. It updates it, it does what it needs to do. Definitely an easy use tool. Now, if somebody wants to learn more about egg analytics or ProfitLayers or data layers or any of the tools you guys have to offer. Where can they go? Who can they talk to?

Corey: The easiest way to get started is to hop on our website and start checking things out for yourself. It's just Once you get there, you can request a demo and get connected with myself or one of my excellent colleagues. You can get started making a free basic account for yourself. What that lets you do is integrate your data. You can play around with the software and really get a good flavor for what it's like to use the program. You can generate a handful of profit maps to test it out for yourself and see if you want to move forward with the actual subscription.

I should say that if you are someone who really likes doing research and likes getting information yourself, rather than reaching out to someone, as I understand that can be at times intimidating, we do put out a blog every week where we try to explain the functionality of the tools and how different users can benefit, and really how best to make the data work for you. I definitely recommend giving that a shot as well.

Tony: I just want to thank you Corey for taking the time out of your day to sit down and chat with me about Ag-Analytics and ProfitLayers and all of the beneficial tools you guys have to offer. It's a great tool. Great stories. Thanks again for doing this.

Corey: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Tony, for the opportunity. Your podcast is fantastic. 154 episodes going strong. Congratulations, man.

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