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EarthScout® Year in Review: 2022

We are back again with another year end wrap up and boy do we have a lot to cover. If you want to check out our 2021 year in review, click here.

We started out January of 2022 by continuing to grow our YouTube channel and added a ton of new product videos. These videos include tutorials for how to use our app, how to use our different sensors and how to set up your EarthScout unit when it first arrives to your door. Make sure to subscribe and follow our channel to keep up!

February was rife with local events around central Minnesota. These events are always fun because we get to connect directly with growers and researchers throughout our local area.

We kicked off February by attending the MN Fruit and Vegetable expo in Roseville, MN with Scott Wicklund of MIDC Enterprises. Scott specializes in irrigation equipment and has always been influential to EarthScout by providing us with helpful knowledge to better serve growers looking to improve their irrigation efficiency throughout Minnesota.

Next, we attended the Irrigation and Nutrient Management Clinic hosted by University of Minnesota Extension in New York Mills, MN. This clinic serves to educate farmers on funding opportunities, irrigation research, soil moisture sensors, and the economics of soil health. The University of Minnesota Extension office does a great job hosting these educational events throughout the year and we enjoy supporting their cause.

Finally in February, we exhibited at the Irrigators Association of Minnesota Convention in Freeport, MN. As Minnesota starts to see warmer, drier summers, the Irrigation Association of Minnesota becomes more crucial to farmers adapting to changing conditions and irrigating where they historically have not. We praise their efforts and enjoy supporting their mission. We will be heading to Freeport again in February 2023 and we are looking forward to returning to this insightful event.

Also in exciting news, our first national TV commercial aired on Fox Business News and over 100 regional TV stations. Click here to watch it!

In March the EarthScout team gathered at Josh’s farm, Windland Flats in Princeton, MN to review our 2021 year. Windland Flats is home to many grass-fed Highland cows, Shetland sheep, goats and chickens. As a team, we discussed what EarthScout accomplished in the past year and what we want to achieve for 2022. Of course, we had frequent breaks to explore the farm and see all the babies that had arrived that Spring!

Troy attended the Commodity Classic in New Orleans, LA in Mid-March. This was by far our largest event of 2022. The Commodity Classic highlights innovation for farmers and is lead by farmers. No company is too big or too small for this event, and we are excited for the opportunity to share our IoT farming solutions to such a large, national crowd.

Back home in Minnesota, we attended more intimate, local events that we love. In late March, we attended the Swift County Irrigation Clinic in Benson, MN. It was a fun event that focused on irrigation, climate, and soil health. This event was hosted by the Pope SWCD, Stearns County SWCD, Douglas SWCD, Kandiyohi SWCD and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

We ended in person events in March with the inaugural Minnesota Irrigator Program (MIP). This program highlights new innovations in irrigation and helps Minnesota growers with irrigation scheduling and special topics like variable rate irrigation and remote sensing. The importance of this program is paramount for Minnesota irrigators to learn to increase their water efficiency and protect groundwater from nitrogen leaching.

Spring Webinar Series: Our technical agronomist, Anna Kelley, hosted our first 6 week webinar series in March and April. The following list will link you to the topics discussed.

To watch any of the six webinar sessions, head on over to our YouTube playlist.

We love to celebrate the first day of Spring. We released a blog highlighting the importance of Spring soil temperature data and making planting decisions. Our soil sensors can provide surprising insights into your soil in the springtime. You don’t need to rely on generic, regional data for planting. Check it out!

By May, EarthScout units across the Midwest were awake from their winter slumber and collecting data. Our Technical Agronomist Anna installed four EarthScout units at the Eastern Nebraska Research Extension and Education Center in Ithaca Nebraska as part of her master’s thesis project. This research was on soil moisture and its relationship with soybean gall midge adult emergence in the field. EarthScout units are well suited for all kinds of research at the university level and beyond.

We are always working to improve the experience for EarthScout users and this year we were able to release a new product design! We unveiled our newest outdoor EarthScout design in May, and it heightens the user experience in many ways. There is now a convenient carrying handle at the top of each unit. Also, the solar panel was upgraded to a smaller design that is more powerful than our last solar panel, and it is is fixed to the door of the unit. The hardware that was removed to achieve this also removed some unnecessary top weight, making EarthScout more stable. There was some protection added to the antenna and the clawed feet of the unit are now in a fixed position. Along with the hardware upgrades, there were major improvements made in the PC boards and firmware system of EarthScout.

The summer months started off with a trip to The International Society of Precision Ag Conference hosted right in our hometown of Minneapolis! This event moves around the globe every other year, so we were very fortunate to attend in Minnesota. At this event we had the chance to introduce EarthScout to global researchers, professors, and industry professionals. Dr. David Mulla from the University of MN is the Precision Ag Leader at EarthScout and it was fun to network with him at this event and learn more about the history of the ISPAG. Dr. Mulla has been a member since the early 1990s!

Anna, our native Nebraskan, represented EarthScout at two county fairs last summer. The Buffalo County Fair and the York County Fair in Nebraska. Both events were a fun mix of farming, networking, and fair food.

In August, the Minnesota Irrigator Program hosted a farm field day at Anderson Farms in Belgrade Minnesota. This field day was hosted by Vasu Sharma and the University of Minnesota Extension as an opportunity for growers to learn more about variable rate irrigation (VRI) and soil moisture sensors. EarthScout was able to present to the growers and performed an installation for the crowd of farmers. The event was held adjacent to the field where Vasu Sharma and Grant Anderson installed EarthScout sensors for VRI scheduling in a case study. You can read more about this study here.

Over the late summer and early fall an EarthScout customer, Pete Caspers and his daughter Alba, were racking up the wins at giant pumpkin growing contests around the Midwest. Pete used his EarthScout to monitor soil moisture levels for his giant pumpkins. The pumpkins drink up a lot of water in just one day to get to their monster sizes! Read about Pete and Alba’s first big win of the season here.

Pete and Alba continued to win and finished the competitive season by breaking the Iowa State record for largest pumpkin grown at 2,424 lbs! WOW! This state record holding pumpkin was the 10th largest grown in US history and 19th largest pumpkin grown in the world!

Pete Caspers award winning giant pumpkin carved into a dragon face

Every year, three of the largest pumpkins grown throughout the United States get displayed at the New York Botanical Gardens. Pete was able to haul his record breaking pumpkin to New York, where it was carved into a dragon by artists Deane Arnold, Adam Bierton, and Lenny Calvin.
Working with Pete and Alba in 2022 taught EarthScout a lot about monster squash.

Over the fall months we slowed down and met for in person meetings and a tour of EarthScout customers Bert and Bear Bouwman at Twin Cities Maze. We toured pumpkin, sweet corn, pepper, strawberry, and watermelon fields where EarthScout helped them to dial in their irrigation over the summer months to yield a bountiful fall harvest. They were even kind enough to carve a pumpkin just for us! I think it’s safe to say, this was the year of the pumpkin at EarthScout.

Our last in person events of 2022 were packed into the same week! The Minnesota Soil and Water Conservation District Annual Convention was right in our backyard and we networked with many SWCD employees from across the state of Minnesota.

Our final event of 2022 was the University of Minnesota Soil Management Summit. This summit was focused on educating growers about different kinds of conservation practices geared specifically towards conserving soil. To learn more about this summit click here.

We had a great time working with our customers and meeting new people at in person events last year and can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store for us! Thank you for following along. We have a lot of local events coming up this spring and we hope to see you soon!