Big data analytics examines large amounts of data to unravel the hidden patterns, correlations, market trends, and other insights to identify new opportunities that make it difficult to process by using traditional techniques and tools. On a broad scale, data analysis technologies analyze your data sets and gather information from them immediately with less effort which provides more efficient operations and higher profits. Big data analytics involves some complex applications such as predictive models, statistical algorithms, and what-if analysis.
The agricultural sector is confronted with enormous challenges due to urbanization and changing climate rapidly such as depletion of water resources, increased erosion, and loss of productivity due to the extreme weather condition. We need to increase our crop production significantly to feed the growing number of people and deliver products effectively to stave off the widespread famine.
So, we must resolve these challenges by using advanced digital technologies. One of these technologies generates a massive amount of data which is called Big Data. Big data can play a significant role to face these challenges to maintain sustainable agriculture systems.
How Big Data Play Role in Agriculture
To challenge agriculture problems, technology plays a key role such as IoT, big data analytics, and cloud computing.
IoT devices help to collect data, and precision agriculture is used to analyze the real-time data from sensors plugged in tractors, weather, air, soil, and plants directly from the ground.
“ John Deere Company integrated the sensors in their farming equipment and developed big data applications to better manage the farm, especially the large farms which are hard to manage.”
After that, big data analytics integrates all of the available information in the cloud such as weather data and pricing models to make important decisions on business processes to increase farming productivity and discerning different patterns.
Big data application on farming systems provides benefits from minimizing the use of different resources and altering farming practices such as proper irrigation time, harvest time, fertilizer requirements, rainfall pattern by formulating predictive algorithms that can alter the problem by the uncertainty of climate change.
Big data leads to smart farming. This can help to collect data from the field and then analyze it so that farmers can use this information to make an important decision like time of sowing, pesticide and fertilizer application time, harvesting time, sensors on fields and crops provide granular data points on soil conditions, as well as detailed information on wind, fertilizer requirements, water availability and pest infestations, sensors on fields and crops provide granular data points on soil conditions, as well as detailed information on wind, fertilizer requirements, water availability and pest infestations to grow high quality and greater quantity of crops. It can also help the entire food supply chain.
In addition, making the business more profitable is also challenging because many farmers are struggling to manage larger farmers with fewer hands. In that case, precision farming and prediction of future farming will be greatly helpful.
“Mike Duncan, a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council research chair in precision agriculture at Niagara College says predicts the farm of the not-so-distant future will be entirely remote-controlled.”
There are many industries that are trying to use big data in modern farming.
1. Bayer uses big data analytics to protect the crop and make sustainable agriculture
Bayer is a life science company with core competencies in the areas of agriculture and health care.
The crop production is reduced significantly each year because of the vulnerability to weeds and pests that pose a major challenge for farmers. Bayer Digital Farming unit developed an application that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) for weeds and pests detection.
A mobile app for weed (WeedSpotter) and pest (PestSpotter) identified with treatment information (Bayer Product Manual apps). They have Integrated these three apps and combined them into a single app and made it easier for farmers to use.
“Farmers can easily upload photos in the app and match the photo from a large collection of databases (almost 100,000) then detect the pathogen and can also choose their product for treatment.”
In this way, the application of this app at the right time protects crops and increases yield.
2. SMAG InVivo: Digital solutions for efficient and sustainable agriculture
InVivo is the French’s leading cooperative group to help French agriculture and agricultural organizations to regain their rightful place in the world food value chain and SMAG is a subsidiary, is the French leader in agronomic information systems. Its software is used by 80% of cooperatives and 50% of merchants in France.
SMAG software is a real system developed as a mobile application that combines daily farming practices to support farmers by using the agriculture big data aim to facilitate collaborations between different actors in agriculture and the provision of expertise to operational staff. SMAG pooled 30 years of weather data history, satellite and drone images, and soil types to make decisions faster for farmers and promote sustainable agriculture. SMAG developed a complex agronomic data crop algorithm to process the vast amount of stored data to optimize decision making.
Moreover, Aladin.farm is a French e-commerce digital platform developed for the sale of agricultural products and services that helps the farmers and technicians which provide a range of products and services with local offerings and currently has 25,000 connected farmers and lists over 150 agricultural suppliers.
3. Farmers Edge: A global leader in digital agriculture
Farmers Edge, a Winnipeg-based company that is going to lead to the next agricultural revolution by developing data-driven technologies that help farmers to run efficient operations while producing more food for a rapidly growing global population. Farmers Edge is developing smart farming solutions from collected data from the farm by installing weather stations and telematics transfer devices on the farm for each piece of equipment and combining different data sources into one platform, and offering field management consultations and technical assistance to help farmers.
"Co-founder Wade Barnes says advances in geo-mapping and analytics technology have transformed a once cumbersome and unreliable process early attempts by such ag giants as John Deere and Trimble to market monitors and GPS systems were met with a tepid response—into something intuitive and, crucially, effective and the industry change from being very hardware-focused to being service focused."
Farmers Edge recently raised nearly $60 million in equity investments to help support aggressive international expansion, and the company has recruited former Monsanto, DuPont, and Canadian Wheat Board executives into its fold.
In addition, Big data is also going to be used in small-scale farms to reduce hunger and promote rural growth. With the collaboration of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and national governments have launched 500 million US dollars to help developing countries fight hunger by gathering data on small-scale farms. The aim of this project is to fill the information gap of what an estimated 500 million farmers living in poverty are doing across 50 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This program helps to meet the UN sustainable development goal and to double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers as part of a broader effort to eliminate hunger by 2030.
Big data can revolutionize the agriculture sector to consolidate data on climate, agronomy, water, farm equipment, supply chain, weeds, nutrients, and so much more that provide unprecedented decision-making capabilities to farmers.
Author: Sanzida Akhter Anee (Co-founder of AgriBioTechX)
*Source Images: Pinterest
Source: Nature| Google
*Note that any firm mentioned above does not sponsor this blog.