“It looks like you could run over it with your tractor in the fall, then pull it out of the thawed soil in spring, plug it in, and it would still work,” observed a farmer at FarmTech, an annual crop production and farm management conference in Edmonton.

“It looks like you could run over it with your tractor in the fall, then pull it out of the thawed soil in spring, plug it in, and it would still work,” observed a farmer at FarmTech, an annual crop production and farm management conference in Edmonton. In fact, just about every attendee who passed by the Farmers Edge booth had a strange compulsion to fondle the hand-sized, high-tech apparatus developed by Farmers Edge. “It kinda looks like a garden-hose nozzle,” remarked another attendee, clearly curious to try it out.

“In precision agronomy, you’re either hardware, software, or you’re agronomy,” notes Wade Barnes, president and CEO of Farmers Edge. “Sometimes you’re two out of three, but you’re never all three. We’re all three.” The subject of the awe and curiosity at FarmTech is actually just a part of the hardware side of an entire system, called FarmCommand, designed to help farmers become more profitable but also more integrated. “Our device is agnostic. A normal farm will have a variety of tractors, combines, irrigation systems, and storage bins. If at the end of the day the data is segregated and cannot be integrated, the farmer will say, ‘Ahh, it’s too complicated, I’m not going to bother.’ Our device will uniform everything.”

That said, no product launch goes off without a hiccup, and the launch of FarmCommand was complicated by the fact that Farmers Edge essentially beta-tested 2000 units at the same time. “But you have to realize that each one of them is being used in a unique vehicle,” Barnes says. “Some are John Deeres, some aren’t. Some are 2014 models, some are 2004 models. By the time we were into week three of seeding season we were already into version 10 of the software, based on the feedback we were getting from the devices.” Despite all the variability, the beta test went off almost without a hitch. Almost. “We had one big farm where the plugs were receiving data but weren’t transmitting it,” Barnes explains, “which we later attributed to machines literally driving in and out of cellular service. But we had them up and running within 48 hours. Kleiner Perkins, one of our investors, said they’d seen this before and they thought we would fail. But in agriculture you can’t fail. You cannot fail. If you miss seeding season—it’s over.”

The FarmCommand system has proven to be so effective that Farmers Edge is touting it as being lifestyle changing. “The device is incredibly powerful,” claims Barnes. “The tractor is not just talking to us. We’re talking to the tractor. Think about the opportunities. A third-party device goes in, and we can start to control the equipment.”

Questions

Using the product terminology included in this chapter, how would you categorize FarmCommand as a product?
According to the technology adoption life cycle, there is a gap in adoption rates between early adopters and early majority members. FarmCommand would appear to have jumped that gap relatively seamlessly. Why do you think it was successful in this regard?
FarmCommand is part hardware and part software. Would there be a service element from Farmers Edge for this product as well? Explain.

The post “It looks like you could run over it with your tractor in the fall, then pull it out of the thawed soil in spring, plug it in, and it would still work,” observed a farmer at FarmTech, an annual crop production and farm management conference in Edmonton. appeared first on Versed Writers.

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