Big data or data management in agriculture continues to be a hot topic. The 2013 InfoAg Conference highlighted not only how data management is growing in agriculture through the tradeshow and presentations but that industry partnerships will be a key to success of this data evolution. One company cannot provide the one-stop shop as it relates to ag data management since this service is complex. Farmers, ag retailers, machinery companies and other ag businesses all require different data streams and information to provide feedback on their business or to their customers. Further, the analytics being developed to analyze and gleam valuable information (e.g. “knowledge”) must address agronomic, machinery, economics and other areas. Therefore, the idea of partnerships will allow the data management aspect of Precision Ag to develop and help the agricultural community in a positive way. Our PrecisionAg team here in Alabama has recognized that their remains barriers to data management and especially the sharing of data with others while maintaining privacy. However, the ag industry is moving forward and starting to assemble pieces of the puzzle to allow data sharing and enhance the ability to draw valuable knowledge and help farmers maintain profitability.
My view is that a farmer will need to rely on a machinery dealership to help move data on and off or between machines while consultants and ag retailers provide the agronomic analysis and Rx map generation at the regional level. Technology companies have already invested and providing solutions to learn more about how their products such as seed technology perform on a regional or site-specific basis. They can learn from this information in order to improve their offering to an individual farmer. There are other companies which will play a critical role. In return, everyone must be working together or partnering in order to best serve the farmer.
I was amazed at the 2013 InfoAg Conference the number of company exhibits in which partnerships were being visibly publicized. These partnerships have also been integrated into exhibits at the various fall farm shows around the US. I feel this is a positive sign for farmers and the ag community as the data evolution matures. Still plenty of work for everyone to address farmer concerns but the discussions and partnerships between companies is positive.
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