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:
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.
“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.