You can only manage what you measure

How technology can help address challenges through tough times with Soil Scout CEO Jalmari Talola.

It is quite clear by now, that there’s no need to enumerate all the different challenges currently affecting our lives. The common denominator is the increase in costs, which is affecting us in all different areas.

The main question is how to overcome these challenges and what role does technology play in that? I would dare to claim that those organisations that already use technology and continue expanding the use of it have a better chance of successfully getting through these tough times. But which areas should these investments be directed to and when is the right time to implement new methods?

Solve your biggest challenge

Having discussed this, with various stakeholders, the guideline is usually very simple: focus on solving your biggest challenge! This is often easier said than done, but like eating an elephant, cutting it into pieces usually helps solve challenges. A good rule of thumb is to make just one technology investment and implementation per year and therefore get the most out of it before moving to the next one.

Digitisation in many cases means measuring and as we well know, you can only manage what you can measure. And the measured information helps significantly in making operations more efficient and controlling costs down the path. But that can only happen when measured information has really led to actions.

Let me bring up two recent examples of how people in our networks have addressed these problems:
Trumetari Farm in Ulvila, Finland is one of the farmers who have realised the unacceptable mismatch of irrigation cost and the arbitrarily of deciding how much to apply and when to begin. During the record-breaking hot summer in 2021, their Soil Scout data played a crucial role when they realised they lacked a proper irrigation strategy.

In March this year Trumetari farm quoted: "In the extreme 2021 drought our irrigation capacity was completely inadequate. It would have been fatal to waste time irrigating areas, where moisture status did not yet require it. By continuously focusing efforts on the most critical zones, we were able to sustain plants over the worst drought period. Beginning in March we were selling potatoes we simply would not have had without Soil Scout.”

Return of investment

Another example is our Norwegian partner Agdir AS. Team Agdir has spent quite some time discussing with local farmers to understand their problems and needs. Agdir then gathered these needs and developed a software called Agdir Farm that combines different datasets to address the exact issues which the local farming community is facing. For example, combining rainfall and evaporation data from Soil Scout with Agdir's data can improve different farming practices by indicating the best time to start the efforts.

This is one of our highest priorities in our day to day activities: to make sure Soil Scout data is really getting in actionable and practical use by our customers. Would the data not lead to better management, we would have failed in delivering our customers with a return of investment and added value. Fortunately, that does not seem to be the case, as our data is daily feeding data to irrigation systems, vacuum systems, heating systems, turf management software and farm management information systems, leading to better quality, quantity and lower operating costs.

In this issue of Sensor magazine we introduce a new, exciting product to the Soil Scout portfolio. The ground-breaking Dual Depth sensor (DDS), gives the well-known Soil Scout Hydra sensor an additional sensing head, interconnected with a cable.

Dual Depth sensor

Many of our customers have been asking for this kind of a product for some time now and we are very happy to finally make it available. This really is a solution to their various needs in all different segments. In agriculture we now enable the monitoring of deep rooted crops, in sports and golf let customers do vertical profiling to optimise their use of inputs and prevent fertiliser leaching, and those in landscaping finally have a single product that fits to all of their monitoring needs.

The first actual user for this new product comes from Argentina, where a local new-world vineyard Bodega Renacer had the privilege to be the world's first user to start gaining the value of this new type of a sensor.

Remember, you can only manage what you measure!

You can contact Jalmari by email. CLICK HERE

Jalmari's Thought Leadership article has been published in issue six of Soil Scout's Sensor magazine, to read more CLICK HERE

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James Baylis

Head of Creative Content at Soil Scout. With over 20 years experience in the design, media and photographic industries, James has a passion for promoting the Soil Scout solution through creative content and marketing.