Press Release

Satellite Imagery Improves Agriculture Techniques

By SpaceRef Editor
May 28, 2003
Filed under , ,

Bowles Farming Realizes Cost Savings and Increased Revenue Using SPOT Imagery to Create DigitalGlobe AgroWatch Products

DigitalGlobe(TM) announced that
Bowles Farming, an agriculture customer in Los Banos, Calif., is using 30 foot
resolution SPOT satellite imagery for precision farming applications, land
acquisition assessment, and improved crop quality, asset and nutrition
management. In addition to providing the imagery, DigitalGlobe worked closely
with Bowles Farming to train company representatives on the use and
interpretation of digital satellite imagery.

Bowles Farming is a 12,000-acre family farm producing cotton, alfalfa and
small grains crops. In April 2002, Cannon Michael, business operations manager
for the farm, noticed that 45 acres within a 141-acre field of cotton were
producing poor yields due to leakage from an irrigation canal that was causing
salt build-up in the soil.

The initial proposed solution was to install tile along the entire length
of the canal to provide adequate drainage and divert excess water. This
solution would cost $127,000 for the purchase of 9,700 feet of tile and two
pumps. After examining DigitalGlobe’s AgroWatch maps produced from SPOT
imagery captured in August 2002, Cannon determined the size of the total
affected area was less than half of what he initially anticipated —
4,250 feet rather than 9,700 feet. Once the actual extent of the drainage
problem was identified through satellite imagery, Cannon determined that he
required only 4,250 feet of tile and one pump, saving the farm $69,000 on
materials alone. The anticipated revenue increase on the yield is expected to
be $17,150 after the first year.

“Satellite imagery saved our farm thousands of dollars,” explained Cannon.
“The AgroWatch Green Vegetation maps were key to identifying specific problem
areas and are part of our strategy for increasing yields, allowing us to make
better long-term farming decisions. Agriculture is moving into the space age,
and that means new ways to accurately and effectively solve old problems.
DigitalGlobe makes it very easy for the agriculture market to access and
benefit from this complex technology.”

DigitalGlobe is committed to providing a regularly scheduled and ready-to-
use imagery solution to growers, consultants and allied industries in
production agriculture. DigitalGlobe’s two, eight and 10-foot resolution image
products provide the facts for customers to make quicker and better management
decisions while reducing economic risk.

Bowles Farming views precision agriculture and other new technologies as a
way to achieve production goals while maintaining a commitment to providing
high-quality crops at lower production costs. In addition to identifying
trouble areas, the company is using AgroWatch maps to optimize the number of
acres farmed. The short-term use of these information products includes
understanding field variations, identifying opportunities and implementing
remediation where possible. In the long-term, Bowles Farming will use the
imagery to improve crop quality, nutrition and asset management, as well as
assess land acquisitions.

“To directly and positively affect a business’ bottom line is a great
success,” said John Ahlrichs, director of Agriculture Markets for
DigitalGlobe. “We have already started our image collection program for the
2003 growing season and are helping consultants and their growers make in-
season crop production decisions. DigitalGlobe is pleased to be part of
Bowles Farming’s solution and to help them realize all the possibilities of
image-based information products for improving their production system.”

AgroWatch products are produced from satellite imagery by DigitalGlobe to
meet information needs of the agricultural community. The AgroWatch Green
Vegetation Index aids growers and consultants in making quicker and
quantitative scouting and land management decisions. ScoutAide shows the
absolute amount of vegetation change and is most valuable for identifying
problem areas where the crop is changing faster than expected or validating
the result of changing production practices. The AgroWatch Soil Zone map
provides users insight into the influence of surface soil characteristics on
vegetation health. Combined, these maps are critical for improving production
practices over time.

DigitalGlobe has exclusive rights to sell SPOT satellite imagery products
and services to customers in the U.S. agriculture and defense markets. SPOT
products are used by government and commercial clients in the agriculture
market to provide very rapid and current information on crop conditions both
locally and worldwide for market forecasting, disaster response and long-term

About Bowles Farming Company Inc.

Bowles Farming Company Inc. has been in operation since 1965. It was
originally part of the Miller and Lux Farming Company. Bowles Farming Company
Inc. is a family owned corporation that owns and leases ground (around 12,000
acres total) for the farming of cotton, alfalfa and small grains. Bowles
Farming is committed to being low cost producers of high quality crops and
views Precision Agriculture as a way to achieve our production goals.

About SPOT Image Corporation

SPOT Image Corporation in Chantilly, VA, is part of the SPOT World Group
(SWG) with headquarters in Toulouse, France. The SPOT World Group operates a
constellation of medium- and high-resolution satellites, and a network of
receiving stations, processing centers and global business partners serving
businesses and governments worldwide. SPOT is the oldest commercial satellite
imaging company, having launched its first satellite in 1986.

About DigitalGlobe

DigitalGlobe is an Earth imagery and information company in Longmont,
Colorado, USA. With the 2001 launch of its QuickBird satellite, DigitalGlobe
has established a market leadership position. The company offers the world’s
highest resolution commercial satellite imagery, the most up-to-date archive,
the largest image size, and the greatest on-board storage capacity of any
satellite imagery provider. The competition has no plans to launch a
comparable commercial satellite until at least 2006. In addition to offering
technical superiority, DigitalGlobe distinguishes itself in the market through
its commitment to excellent customer service, relationships with business
partners and open-systems philosophy. More information can be found at

DigitalGlobe and QuickBird are trademarks of DigitalGlobe.

SpaceRef staff editor.