Optimised crop yields are only one aspect of the discussion on the implications of big data for agriculture.
Photo: © P. Lavallée/Fotosix

05.05.2014

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Big data could have a profound impact on farming in the USA and elsewhere. Major agribusiness corporations met with a US farming trade group to discuss the issue in mid-April.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, a US farming trade group, met with major agribusiness firms in mid-April 2014 to discuss the implications of big data for agriculture. The talks had been prompted by concern among farmers in the USA about new data services introduced by seed giants Monsanto and DuPont.
The new systems gather information from farmers on aspects like crop yield to choose appropriate seeds, the right amounts of seed, and how densely rows should be planted and at what depth. The new information is then stored in the cloud. Monsanto’s FieldScript, which uses this “prescriptive planting” concept, has already been launched in four US states.

Farming equipment collecting individual farmers’ information for their personal use has been on the market since the 1990s. What is new about the latest technology is that it uploads the data to the seed providers. Companies like Monsanto can then analyse the data and use it to optimise planting.

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