Agronomy services business Agrovista has signed a partnership agreement with Hummingbird Technologies that gives it access to a digital agriculture platform with remote sensing capabilities, as part of its commitment to targeted agronomy.

Hummingbird, established as an Imperial College spinout in 2016, has developed a technology platform to capture aerial images of fields from satellite, planes and drones. It then analyses the image data using algorithms, deep learning and artificial intelligence to calculate crop input requirements, forecast yields and help apply inputs more precisely to increase yield and efficiency.

The company is already established in major global markets and is backed by a range of investors including BASF, Dyson and Velcourt.

Agrovista agronomists will use this resource to target their crop walking and inform management decisions through building a library of information on a per-field basis. The data will be used to produce precise recommendations and application maps for fertiliser and plant protection products, targeting inputs and improving efficiency whilst minimising environmental impact.

A key point of difference from other digital platforms is Hummingbird’s in-house cloud detection and coverage tool. This identifies and masks cloud cover from satellite imagery, facilitating the use of partially cloudy satellite images and allowing the user to apply a flat rate of input to the areas of the field under cloud while maintaining the variable rate across the remaining area.

This feature will significantly increase the amount of usable surveys available to Agrovista and its customers, so that key application timings are not missed.

“Our agreement with Hummingbird is part of a wider business commitment to targeted agronomy, working alongside our customers to help them make fully-informed data-driven decisions that not only offer a good return on investment, but also accommodate wider environmental factors,” states Agrovista’s head of soil health Chris Martin.

“Agrovista aims to be abreast of the latest technological advancements so that our farmers can support UK food production in the most sustainable way possible, by using available tools effectively. As a business, we believe in being open to partnerships that give our customers added value and contribute to Agrovista’s ability to be a total solutions provider.”

Hummingbird chief executive Will Wells adds: “We are delighted to be supporting Agrovista and its team of agronomists on the front line. The combination of our remote sensing and data analytics skills with Agrovista’s agronomic knowledge provides a high-quality service and robust support tool for farmers. Selling through the agronomy channel at scale is now our preferred route to market.”