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Archive for May 14th, 2014

 

Farmers Use Big Data to Improve Crop Yields

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 by

For the past few years, scientists throughout the world have referenced an impending food shortage of global proportions. The prospect of feeding 9 billion people in the year 2050 is intimidating, motivating organizations to turn to advanced technology. If harnessed properly, Big Data could help agriculturalists and food companies find ways to supply a world population that’s increasing dramatically.

A farmer reaps his wheat crop.

A farmer reaps his wheat crop.

Moving into the 21st century 
When the farming industry comes to mind, people often think of an archaic, anachronistic practice that lags behind when it comes to technological progression. Although every other sector seems to be adopting cloud computing, advanced software solutions, and analytics programs, agriculture appears to have been left in the dust.

Even though such a perception may be widespread, there’s no denying the sector’s importance: “No farms, no food” is the way numerous bumper stickers read. Yet, it’s important to remember that big agriculture corporations like Monsanto consistently fund and launch highly sophisticated research and development projects aimed toward improving production rates and promoting sustainability.

TechRepublic reported that Monsanto uses data analytics tools to help farmers achieve greater crop yields, employ fewer chemicals, and reduce water usage, leading to wider profit margins and more sustainable farming practices. The news source noted that the company estimated increased use of algorithmic information scrutiny could potentially lead to a $20 billion per year increase in worldwide crop production.

Starting at the ground level 
According to a study conducted in 2012 by PrecisionAg Institute, soybean growers that used data analysis applications reported average savings of 15 percent on expenses such as seed, fertilizer, fungicide, herbicide, and other chemicals. These deductions result in more affordable food products, enabling consumers of limited means to buy more.

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