By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Matt Free — a manager at Evergreen FS, an agriculture company — learned that lesson this year.

His team provides crop protection services such as fertilizers and herbicides to farmers across Illinois. After a year-long test of a variety of new technologies, Evergreen FS found artificial intelligence could identify trouble, such as fungus growth and water shortages, in corn and soybean crops weeks before the naked eye would ever realize it.

The tech, which comes from startup Ceres Imaging, offers farmers an AI analysis of photos taken from planes flying several thousand feet above fields. Previously, the technology was only available for orchards and vineyards.

After images are taken, Ceres provides printouts of maps that highlight trouble spots on farms. Free’s team visited the marked areas, but couldn’t detect any issues with their own eyes. Two or three weeks later, the artificial intelligence was proven right: problems emerged, including disease.

According to Michael Gore, a Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences professor, artificial intelligence has a bright future in agriculture. It’s not a panacea, but he expects it will be commonly used among corn and soybean farmers in five to 10 years. Read more from…

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