At first glance, agriculture and IoT may look like they have nothing in common, but it still makes absolute sense to put them together – like Tom Blythe, a farmer from Northwest Iowa discovered. He relies heavily on his sensors, mobile app and tablet to find answers to questions about which seeds to plant, when to harvest and how much yield to expect. He considers these tools as essential to his business as his harvester and tractor. Blythe works closely with a field technology specialist from Wilbur Ellis, a company pioneering the Precision Agriculture revolution.
John Deere too has several products that can connect its equipment with each other as well as to owners, operators, dealers and agricultural consultants to help farmers increase productivity and efficiency. Data from sensors present in the equipment can help farmers better manage their fleet, decrease downtime and cut down fuel costs. Data generated from the equipment is combined with historical and real-time weather data, soil conditions, crop features and many other data sets to yield valuable insights.
Agriculture is an industry that is on the cusp of great change. On one hand, the demand for agricultural produce is booming, thanks to the constantly burgeoning global population. At the same time, land available for agriculture is shrinking steadily. Climate change, erratic rainfall patterns etc. have been causing further havoc. Therefore maximizing agricultural produce and making agriculture more efficient and sustainable should be a priority not just for the agricultural community, but for all of us.
There is still no consensus on the best way to use big data for agriculture or to deal with the associated risks, as this article on Government Technology points out. But one thing is obvious: As more and more farmers participate in the big data revolution, the benefit accrued will increase significantly because more data = better insights.