We live in an exciting time in agriculture. Not only is technology advancing rapidly, but the understanding and comprehension of technology and data is becoming easier to decode and decipher. By 2050, the population of Earth will amass 9.7 billion people, each with needs of food and water. Throughout time, revolutions have changed the way we live and produce, and as we continue to breakthrough with technology understanding tied to agronomics and decision making, the next revolution is here and continues to grow.
Digital agriculture has enabled technology to provide insights and information across farms, from anywhere in the world. The ability to collect, transfer, store, and analyze information has never been easier, but with this brings a challenge. As we continue through the precision agriculture revolution and the adoption and use of GPS into now using data and technology to enable precise applications and decision making, the next phase is taking the digital information and turning it into Decision Agriculture, using this plethora of ‘big data’ and information to make faster, more complex and impactful decisions, both proactively and reactively to increase efficiencies and profitability. Insights from digital tools are not set to replace in-field agronomics, or develop technologies that do all the work for us, but instead to make us more efficient at finding, deciphering, and developing decisions forward with more information than we have ever had before.
Decision Agriculture is filled with digital information and technology tools. Here is a close look at some that are already making an impact:
When thinking about how technology is moving rapidly, I align what we see today in agriculture to what we are seeing in the medical fields. Years ago, we would have had trouble seeing anything other than an X-Ray, and can now monitor across multiple pools of data and subsets of information with constant monitoring to help us make a decision quicker than we ever had before for our health. These insights have helped save lives, make health decisions sooner, and give us the proper information to know we are making a good choice for our lives. Without technologies, this would have been difficult to accomplish and move forward for our well being.
While many of these technologies can be intertwined, it is exciting to see what is coming in the future for agriculture when thinking of insight and efficiencies. The key takeaway is to remember that these new tools and technologies don’t replace what is happening in the field, and that efficiencies of workflow and application can be addressed by using these new developments. Data integrity and ownership is a key topic in today’s agricultural developments, and understanding where your data sits is crucial to ensuring the decision you want to make and where you want to go aligns with your and the provider’s vision. As we reach the challenge of growing more food for more people, understanding what is coming and where the most opportune decision can be made requires working with those you trust and can help through the adoption phases of new technology.