Case Study:

Providing rich insights and strengthening relationships with ag dealership customers

Why a John Deere dealer chose to expand its offerings to include Sentera solutions and how they’ve used them to drive value with customers

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Farm Drone Case Studies | Ryan Hutchison South Country Equipment | Sentera | Ag Drone ROI | Ag Dealership Case Study

Ryan Hutchison

Integrated Solutions Manager
South Country Equipment

The usefulness of ag tech is determined by the results it generates. Nobody knows this better than Ryan Hutchison, Integrated Solutions Manager at South Country Equipment, an agricultural equipment dealer that operates multiple locations in Saskatchewan.

Growers are looking for solutions that will provide concrete value, and Ryan’s job is to seek out new technologies, validate them for his marketplace, and build a team capable of delivering the technology or service to South Country’s customers.

When asked to explain why South Country chose to partner with Sentera rather than another UAV company, Ryan cited three reasons:

“Partnering with Sentera gave us a platform that integrated with our hardware. It also enabled us to perform data collection services in the field for our customers and their agronomists — so if we get a phone call from a customer saying ‘I have some variability in the field, can you fly the field for us and provide us the data?’, the answer now is yes, we can offer that service. Lastly, we have a segment of growers who are younger, highly educated, and capable of flying and doing their own post-flight analysis. Sentera’s products allowed us to have integration, provide a service, and offer a retail experience as well.

Those were some of the things that were appealing about the Sentera product line that none of the others can offer today.”

Most of Ryan’s customers who are looking for imagery want NDVI, but the number of customers requesting elevation, weed detection, and problem resolution imagery is increasing. Ryan has leveraged this data in some unique ways for his customers — in one instance, UAV imagery was used to settle an insurance claim after a grower’s field sustained damage.

Due to variable cropping conditions in the region last year, another grower’s field was drought affected. The customer didn’t want to apply fungicide to the whole field, so Ryan’s team flew the field and identified the drought-affected areas.

In the end, the grower saved 35-40% on fungicide by only spraying the affected areas, rather than the entire field.

“This isn’t something we would have been able to do using satellite imagery, with the clouds and whatnot, because we needed an image now. The UAV allowed us just to go out and get an image, get it embedded in the sprayer controller and do a variable rate application very quickly.”

“This isn’t something we would have been able to do using satellite imagery, with the clouds and whatnot, because we needed an image now. The UAV allowed us just to go out and get an image, get it embedded in the sprayer controller and do a variable rate application very quickly.”

In dealer-customer relationships, longevity is prized. The goal is to establish ongoing relationships with customers that will last from one growing season to the next. For Ryan, success is defined in terms of repeat business:

“Success comes from customers continuing to use a product or a technology, rather than buying something once. The win for us is in the renewal or the second visit, it’s not in flying a customer’s field for him once — that, to me, is not success — success is the second and the third and the fourth time that we fly the field.”

How can Ryan ensure that his customers will return year after year? He has to earn their trust, and he has to provide value in the form of information, expertise, and accurate, timely data.

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