How The Yield Is Using IoT and Planet OS To Shape The Future of Agriculture

Annika Ljaš
Planet OS (by Intertrust)
4 min readApr 19, 2017

From A Smart App For Oyster Farmers To A Powerful IoT Platform Boosting Farm Productivity

Recently, we have been especially impressed by The Yield, the Australian AgTech company that is using data to boost productivity in agriculture and food industries. The Yield unites sensors and software with predictive analytics to help growers make better on-farm decisions.

The Yield started off with a solution for oyster farmers, the so-called Internet Of Oysters that helps the growers reduce unnecessary harvest closures by 30 percent. This solution is expected to save Australian oyster growers an estimated AUD$7.6 million a year.

“Australia is the perfect breeding ground for AgTech innovation, because our conditions are so tough. Growers are innovative because they need to be.”
— Ros Harvey, Founder and Managing Director at The Yield

Now The Yield has expanded to agriculture and food by developing an end-to-end microclimate sensing system tool that enables growers efficiently plan harvesting, optimise work scheduling, track food provenance and safety.

The Yield + Planet OS

To provide the most accurate predictions for the farmers, The Yield constantly feeds data into their advanced analytics from at least three sources:

Working with environmental data is challenging. It can take months to figure them out so The Yield contacted Planet OS for help.

Planet OS Datahub — the one stop shop for high-quality environmental data

Planet OS has been working on large-scale sensor data for years, and launched Datahub in early 2016. It’s a data catalog that enables simplified access to high-quality environmental data from NASA, NOAA and other leading providers. Since all the datasets are accessed in the same way Datahub is easy to work with and the user can forget about preprocessing. All the different variables of each dataset are explained in clear, easy to follow summaries to save their time.

A Single API For All Environmental Data

The Yield was attracted to the idea of having much easier access to GFS, the Global Forecast System. Open data catalogs are great sources, but they also have some challenges. The catalogs and their access rules change quite often and this usually breaks the user’s queries. If a user needs to access different subsections of a dataset, it usually means adapting data queries for each new type of request.

But The Yield wanted a single flexible API that they can trust without a constant need to adapt their code and monitor its status. They chose Planet OS API as it provided:

  • point-based access to gridded data
  • polygon-based queries
  • multiple response formats (NetCDF / CSV)
  • synchronous and asynchronous responses
  • data consulting and custom attribute creation

It’s been truly inspiring to see the progress of The Yield and their determination to help growers around the world be more successful by empowering data-driven decisions. In fact, the collaboration with The Yield has uncovered specific problems with GFS data that our lead data engineer published for others to use who might encounter similar challenges.

Why This Is Just The Beginning

The Yield’s first product is already having a positive financial impact on Australian oyster growers and they are just getting started. Two weeks ago, The Yield announced their AUD$6.5 million Series A funding round led by Bosch, KPMG, and AgFunder that enables them to accelerate their mission. With the support from the new strategic investors and technical confidence from Planet OS, we expect great things from both The Yield and their customers.

Thank you for reading. You would like to test Datahub but aren’t sure if you need it today? Don’t worry, you can simply create a free account and try it out. Are you planning to build your own data-driven application but don’t know how to get started? Join our Slack channel or contact us via the chat tool on the website.

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