We Cultivate Innovation

William Kess Berg

Kess holds a Ph.D in Crop Physiology and Mineral Nutrition from Purdue University. His area of expertise is bridging the gap between crop growth and development, soil chemical and physical properties and the general agronomic practices of the grower

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re a doctor. You have three patients—one with a headache, one with a broken arm, and one with a terminal illness, all in need of care. You give all three of them aspirin, and nothing more. Does it help their conditions? Maybe it alleviates some symptoms, but you don’t know how much it helped, or why it helped, and it certainly wasn’t the best treatment possible for all the conditions. The pain may have gone away, but illnesses remain.

I see the same failure of diagnosis every day in farm fields. Growers and their analytical partners make sweeping prescriptions for zones within a field, but lack the precise data collection strategies to truly measure how effective those prescriptions are. Further, they make those prescriptions without understanding the needs of the land itself. The same strategies keep failing, and no one knows why. In many cases, farmers don’t even know the strategy isn’t working as well as it could.

Believe me, I know how that can feel. When I bought my first yield monitor for my own farm, I suddenly had an inkling of how those problems could be solved. I went back to graduate school to study plant physiology, and how it relates to soil fertility and composition. Precision agriculture persisted in my life as a hobby, until I saw how the two could fit together. We could use precision agriculture to manipulate the plant’s growth mechanisms into producing greater yields.

At Advanced Agrilytics, we’re turning spatial agriculture from an art form into a science.

Where we differ from other consultants is our analysis of not just outcomes, but growth mechanisms. We’re not looking solely at yield variability—we want to understand why it varies. What is happening in your soil to prevent plants from growing and maturing perfectly? Sometimes it’s easy to identify what’s limiting yield—lack of sunlight, water issues. In other cases, it’s a complex mix of factors. Our tools and strategies get more advanced every day as we learn more about how soil and other environmental conditions impact the way plants grow. 

Integrating multiple sciences into our process provides better, more tailored prescriptions to farmers. From meteorology to entomology, we have experts on staff that analyze and understand all the mechanisms influencing yield. We don’t just want to improve your soil, we want to help you monitor humidity, react to pests, and understand your plants’ life cycles and needs.

Thanks to the data we can collect and analyze, answers do exist for the issues today’s growers face. There’s a lot of algorithmic analysis and calculation that goes on in our offices that farmers never see, but it benefits them immensely once we’re finished. If you’re ready to stop giving your whole farm one or two medicines and hoping for results, we’re ready to help you diagnose your field’s needs more fully. Once the full picture emerges, a unique and targeted strategy can follow. 

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