“Ceres Imaging has become a key player for us. We’re better able to prepare for heat and other changes throughout the season.”
Skone and Connors Produce is a multi-generational operation growing nearly 10,000 acres of fruit, vegetables and row crop—including 4,000 acres of potatoes. Based in the fertile Columbia River Basin, their stewardship practices and sustainability efforts have been pivotal in the longevity of the business.
Irrigation efficiency is always top of mind for Skone and Connors farm manager Aaron Lutz: of the many factors affecting the health of the crop, he considers water use the one that he can exercise the most control over, for the greatest impact.
That’s the theory—but in practice, Aaron says, “An operation this size can be hard to manage.” With fields spanning multiple counties, the diversity in soil type and weather makes optimizing irrigation a complex undertaking.
“We knew there were some bottlenecks in the irrigation systems, and clogged nozzles,” Aaron says, “but we didn’t have a way to detect that efficiently and on a large scale.”
Aaron had used satellite data before, but found that the higher-resolution imagery provided by Ceres Imaging offers more specific and more actionable insights. “Ceres Imaging has become a key player for us,” he says, because the bird’s-eye perspective allows his team to respond more quickly to water stress and irrigation issues, like plugged sprinklers.
By scheduling flights and capturing imagery at key stages during the growing season, Aaron can monitor vegetation growth and provide his management team with the information they need to correct issues before they impact the crop. “We’re better able to prepare for heat and other changes throughout the season,” Aaron says.
The ability to find irrigation issues before they impact the crop “brings incredible peace of mind,” Aaron says.
Would I recommend Ceres Imaging? Absolutely. In fact, we’re showing the other crop teams within our operation its value so that they’ll start using it next season, too.