Supporting faster, more accurate stand counting

Stand counting during the early stages of crop growth helps agronomists evaluate emergence rates and make crucial replanting decisions. Our smart agricultural solution offers growers more accurate insights into row crop yields, supporting early intervention and ensuring a more profitable harvest.

Hand holding crop

Why is replanting assessment important?

The efficiency of farming operations depends on maximizing yield potential throughout the growing season. This process ideally starts with a 100% emergence rate at the crucial early stages of plant growth. If initial emergence rates are too low, it isn’t worthwhile investing significant time and resource for several months when eventual yields will be limited. It is therefore important to assess stand count—the proportion of viable plants—early on to justify further outlay during the rest of the season.

Rows of young crop
Man kneeling in crop and checking crop

Traditional counting methods provide limited coverage

Depending on the crop and environmental conditions, agronomists might typically use the 1/1,000th acre method for determining stand density. For example, growers will count every corn plant in a 17.5-feet-length row plant, counting for 30-inch row spacing to obtain an estimate of plants per acre. However, these traditional counting methods cannot give a reliable guarantee about stand rates in the whole field. Typically, growers will sample various areas where damage has occurred. If a grower samples five locations within a 150-acre field using the 1/1,000th acre method, it will only represent 0.003% of the field. This means that growers are forced to make replanting decisions based on extremely limited field data.

Limited data can limit yield potential

The decision to replant a whole field based on limited stand counts presents other problems, too. Healthy seedlings are needlessly replanted, impacting directly on the crop’s overall profitability. Yield potential tends to be better for current healthy plants, while replanting is likely to miss the best growing season, resulting in reduced yield potential. Replanting a whole field is also a time-consuming operation, just at the busiest point in the growing season when access to planting machines and personnel is limited.

Truck in field
Man with drone in field

AI-enabled analytics enable accurate replant decisions

Using a drone-based aerial remote sensing solution, variable application operation can finally be achieved for the replant operation. A drone can take area-sampling pictures to analyze plant emergence over the whole field, while AI-enabled analytics allow quick, accurate wide-area counting as compared with traditional manual counting. Extensive data captured over the whole field thus gives a clear picture of which planted sections are well-established and which aren’t, allowing growers to selectively replant only where necessary.

How can Sony support sectional replanting?

Sony’s smart agriculture solution supports highly efficient, timely and accurate sectional replanting with these key requirements: Realizing sectional replanting, fast analytics supporting in-field decision making and quick, easy operation. Our smart agriculture solution allows analysis of stand-count data within minutes at the edge of the field, generating sectional area information to support replant operations in these three steps:

Drone over field
Capturing the sample image - stand count grid

Step 1: Capturing the sample image

In the same way as grid soil sampling, users can configure the drone flight to ensure sufficient sampling data is captured.

Step 2: Automated counting

Sony’s unique AI-enabled analytics technology can count the actual stand, as well as missing stand, to allow accurate calculation of emergence rates.

Automated counting - AI-enabled analytics grid
Zoning replant area with preferred threshold, size and shape - Zoning replant area map

Step 3: Zoning replant area with preferred threshold, size and shape

The software automatically makes the grid zone based on establishment rate, allowing user adjustment of grid size and threshold of the establishment ratio based on their planting equipment and service capability. With the exported replant section zoning map, users can easily make a prescription map using third-party software. These three straightforward steps support faster and more efficient decision-making and planning of sectional replanting. Actual counting data for the entire field also assists planning for further operations during the season, such as optimizing other input application and yield estimation.

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