We all know technology advancements are happening. Few of us have time to investigate and apply it to our business problems. Often we are too busy to take a step back to test how technology changes have expanded our capabilities or decreased our operation costs. The hurdles of declining commodity prices and increasing input costs are ahead. What are the solutions?

Big Data, IOTs, and AI

First, let’s discuss Big Data. It describes the large volume of data, structured and unstructured, inundating our lives on a day-to-day basis. It’s not the amount of data that is essential; the significance lies in what organizations do with the data. If analyzed properly, big data can yield valuable insight, better decision making and even reduced operating costs.

Adding to the growing science and business around big data, data science and data mining is the development of new data collection devices. Often referred to as the “Internet of Things(IoTs)”. Abundant sensor systems collect data from a variety of sources – a tractor that connects to the internet; an air filter with an IP address that can send an email to the manufacturer to order a new one; and devices and sensors in crops to measure sunlight, heat units and pest pressures. An offering from our friends at Aglytix exemplifies the IoTs mentioned above. Their platform uses data to show growers the tangible value in harnessing data. Aglytix has developed analytics called “Solvers.” Solvers address specific problems that crops may have – plant stand, weed pressure, crop stress, compaction issues and more. With this information, growers receive quantifiable cost data and the ability to visualize how a shift in moisture or fertilizer can impact yield. Such insight affords you a greater number of happy customers.

Another topic of discussion in Big Data is Artificial intelligence (AI). AI processes information so you will reach more informed decisions. Agricultural production will need to double to meet food demands of a global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050. Information analyzed by AI is critical when making decisions with endless potential in the Ag space.

The Challenge for Adoption

The challenge for adoption is real. “Knowledge voids” between growers and technologists remain a barrier and result in poorly applied technology or resistance to adoption. Growers and producers either don’t understand the value or don’t trust the people behind the technology. However, the opportunity to harness data and AI is critical to the bottom line. For instance: a grower may sell his wheat on a certain date because it’s aligned with above average wheat prices in the past. Sometimes he’s correct; other times he takes a loss and chalks it up to experience. In the past, predicting commodity prices to time the sale was practically impossible. The grower was not equipped with the right tools to make an accurate decision and the data was kept on paper. AI is capable transforming this logic and  helping with these decisions. It can time plantings and predict the right time to plant for maximum yield. It can lower input costs by notifying the grower when to apply fertilizers, harvest, bale, and till. The grower makes timely decisions based on climate data, historical conditions, market conditions for inputs and outputs, and personal information.

We Can Help 

Does an understanding of long-term soil fertility and yield on a given piece of land sound appealing to your growers? Bridging this knowledge gap allows businesses to take estimations out of process and lean up input costs. In a competitive marketplace, it’s important to differentiate your offerings from the competition. Talk to us today about our grain accounting solutions and how they can help you in your journey. Our industry experts are ready to help solve the challenges of a shifting technology landscape.

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