Everyone's talking about "Big data". What’s the connection with farming?
The technologies that support farmers nowadays produce huge amounts of valuable data. This data can be collected and used to improve farming practices. Before the emergence of Big Data, we weren't able to aggregate data coming from highly diverse sources. Big Data enables us to extract relevant data, and make it meaningful to best help farmers with their activity. And the Big Data revolution is only just beginning!
What is this data and where does it come from?
Over the last 20 years, farmers have been using a variety of different sensors, GPS tools, satellite data, and decision-aid tools (DATs) to grow their crops. This generates huge, constantly growing volumes of data, complemented by the launch of connected technologies in the field, in combination with farming equipment, increasingly precise meteorological data, and satellite data.
So farmers are real technophiles!
Absolutely. Over the last few years, there has been a very rapid uptake in these technologies; first of all with connection to public interest data like weather forecasts, geophysical satellite data, or fluctuating raw materials prices on the stock market. Nowadays, satellite navigation is accurate to the nearest metre, preventing farmers from going over the same spot twice and, above all, allowing them to really do bespoke farming, to monitor the yield on each plot, to pilot equipment, and ultimately increase productivity and profitability. Like intelligent cars, robots will soon be soon be in the fields eliminating weeds autonomously and sustainably.