Document Type


Publication Date



Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering | Industrial Technology

Course Number and Title

TSM 416: Technology Capstone


Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering


Agricultural Systems Technology and Industrial Technology (Neff); Agricultural Systems Technology (Wright, Rieken, Sharp, Shalla)


Joseph R. Vanstrom and Jacek A. Koziel

Problem Statement

Bob Recker started Cedar Valley Innovation, CVI, in 2004 following his retirement from John Deere after 41 years. CVI works on many small-scale experiments to test if they can be applied in large-scale settings. CVI is a small business hoping to make a big impact on agriculture. On this project specifically, our client’s goal is to study the relative accuracy of alternative methods of data collection to create topographical data of agricultural fields for purpose of water flow and related field analysis.Our group understands the possible solutions for the problem of analyzing water flow are tractor-based ground units, drones, and satellite imagery. We also know relative costs for each system or method. CVI is seeking a definitive answer on which method is best and which method would be easiest for farmers to replicate. If our group tells people how we analyzed field A, would they be able to go analyze field B on their own? Our group has not been able to find specific examples of other companies working on analyzing the pros and cons amongst all three methods. There are plenty of companies working on improving, or trying to sell one method, but very few are attempting to determine which one of the three is the best. While determining which method is best for topographical data for water flow analysis, we will also be able to determine other areas farmers could use the topographical data. Mapping fields, scouting crop health, monitoring weeds or need for fertilizer could all be solved with some of the same methods (Darr, 2018).