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New technology helps expand northwest Iowa business

George Pfaltzgraff, Aerial Engineer with Farm Nutirents speaks at drone seminar in Iowa Falls Wednesday October 28th. Photo by Ben Nuelle.

Adapting and understanding new technology can be tough. One northwest Iowa chicken litter company used new technology as one way to help expand their business.

Farm Nutrients began as a company managing chicken litter in the Storm Lake area. Today they now offer a wide variety of services to customers. Those services include soil sampling, corn and soybean seed, testing and mapping, and now aerial scouting. George Pfaltzgraff is Farm Nutrients Aerial Services Technology Engineer.

“We use the UAVs to supplement the agronomist position at our company. Typically, an agronomist will go out and walk point to point and do samples and random patterns. You could be three rows over in a corn field and totally miss something. With these UAVs we fly the whole field and have high resolution pictures. We can tell you here is a little spot. Walk to that spot and get the coordinates. It assists the agronomist where they can go out instead of blindly walking through a field they can go out and get spots,” Pfaltzgraff said.
Pfaltzgraff said before UAVs, aerial imagery was done in a manned aircraft.

“You would go up with a pilot and either take a picture or look down into the field and find a spot but it still hard with a GPS. It makes the agronomists job easier. It makes giving a whole field analysis problem solving solution easier. Whereas before someone would say this spot has this that. We’re going to assume the whole field is like that. It is not wrong but it is not the best answer you can get,” Pfaltzgraff said.

He said this is the second year Farm Nutrients has offered aerial imagery.