Why we let the field do the talking
In July 2018, a group of precision agricultural ninjas came together to form a platform that would deliver useful normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) imagery and impactful soil fertility recommendations. These ninjas saw that service providers needed a butt-kicking tool that could be used to deliver corrected NDVI imagery and profitable nutrient recommendations to better serve their growers’ bottom line. As a result, Ninja Ag was formed.
Ninja Ag LLC is a limited liability company partnership among Dr. Brian Arnall, Associate and Endowed Professor at Oklahoma State University (OSU); Jerry May, Owner of May Precision Ag LLC; Brady Sidwell, Owner and President of Arbitrage Alpha Solutions; and Courtney Arnall, business development and marketing professional.
Dr. Brian Arnall, Ninja Ag’s Founder and Precision Nutrient Management Extension Specialist at OSU, saw the industry’s need to have easy access to value-added imagery. His vision spurred into motion Ninja Ag’s system that will deliver corrected NDVI imagery and research-driven nutrient recommendations. Due to environmental factors, time of day and varied near infrared (NIR) bans, service providers cannot currently produce accurate fertility recommendations or verifiable data using NDVI imagery. With Ninja Ag’s system, factors that impact imagery values become irrelevant – making data more precise and reliable.
Ninja Ag utilizes peer-reviewed, publicly accessible methodologies developed by OSU researchers. OSU’s algorithms were developed in the late 1990s and have proven over many years of research that farmers can see an increased profit of more than $10 per acre in wheat and $20 per acre in corn. Nitrogen-Rich Strips, where mid-season NDVI sensor readings are collected using Trimble’s handheld GreenSeeker sensor, is the system’s cornerstone.
The name Ninja Ag honors OSU researchers behind the original work. OSU Regents Professor, Dr. Bill Raun, pioneered the use of remote sensing for nitrogen recommendations and established the difference between final grain yield and fertilizer need. All students who take the soil nutrient management course at OSU must memorize and reproduce a perfect nitrogen cycle. Once they do, they are deemed a Nitrogen Ninja. All Nitrogen Ninjas receive a card with their name and the nitrogen cycle. On the back of the early 2000’s original cards, there’s a list of nitrogen cycle words and a signature from the Nitrogen Grand Master, Dr. Bill Raun. Dr. Raun has spent his life working to improve nutrient use efficiency and the lives of people around the world. The name Ninja Ag is a representation of Dr. Raun’s knowledge, work and passion.
In 1992, Dr. Raun, OSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences researcher; and Dr. Marvin Stone and Dr. John Solie OSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering researchers; started collaboration on sensing biomass for nitrogen recommendations and advancements in sensor technologies. The result was a sensor that removed the limitations of previous sensors and standardized NIR bands. This technology is now known as Trimble’s GreenSeeker handheld sensor.
Ninja Ag aims to be a global leader in value-added NDVI imagery and the development of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertility recommendations by providing the latest products and services that meet its customers’ needs and creates lasting growth potential.
It is in great thanks to the work of OSU’s Dr. Bill Raun, Dr. Marvin Stone, Dr. John Solie and Dr. Brian Arnall that Ninja Ag exists to empower service provider ninjas around the world in helping growers be more successful.