“I like that Ceres Imaging gives us an ability to easily measure a physical area. We can put pins around a region and say exactly what’s affected, versus us ball parking it and saying okay, it’s maybe 20 vines by 20 rows.”
Among the nation’s largest growers of table grapes and citrus, Fowler Packing Company is a third-generation, family-owned operation. Efficient use of water is a top priority for the operation, which combines aerial imagery with soil moisture probes and micro-irrigation techniques to prevent waste.
Kyle Moeller at Fowler Packing always knew a certain area of the ranch was seriously underproducing—but in evaluating how to address the issue, his team had always concentrated on the worst-affected corner of the 40-acre block. “We had some ideas,” he says, “and we knew that area was sandy—but we didn’t really realize how much of that block was actually being affected.”
When Ceres Imaging flew the ranch, the imagery revealed that water stress was affecting much larger acreage than was obvious from the ground. Kyle used the results to make his case to ownership for an additional irrigation set. With the equipment installed, the block is nearly as productive as the rest of the ranch. “If you look at the imagery today, that block is a 180-degree flip from what it was. Making the call to add that irrigation set based on the imagery has really changed that block altogether.”
Imagery helped make the case for a change in irrigation strategy that resulted in big yield increases in the trouble spot— from 20%-30% the yield of adjacent blocks to 80-90%.
“We’re adding imagery to ranches all the time and coming to realize how big of an issue some of these ‘small’ problems we see really are. If you walk a field, you maybe walk one or two rows and say, sure, I’ve got a little problem here—but you don’t always grasp the full extent of it.”