One thing the farming community has always been great at is embracing new technology. While the core focus of agriculture has changed little over the past decades, the way in which America produces its food is almost unrecognizable from the family farms of the 1950s. Crop yields continue to grow as farmers gain more insight into possible weather events, soil conditions and the overall health of the plants.
According to the emerging technologies blog, Gigaom, a company called Farm Intelligence is helping farmers analyze data in order to improve the harvest. The industry is known as precision agriculture and uses the massive amounts of data that relate to agriculture to help farmers make better growing decisions. Data analytics are almost a Rosetta Stone between plants and people. By analyzing the height and other attributes of crops in a field, Farm Intelligence can determine if a field is unhealthy and what is impacting it.
Currently, Farm Intelligence manages more than 1 million acres and a petabyte of data, proof that there's more available data in a corn field than there are kernels on all of the cobs. As the technology expands and the analytics improve, farmers will continue to learn more and more about the crops they grow and how to increase yields.
Data Collection in the Food Supply
Harvesting data from the field is just one way that organizations are connecting with their products through technology. In addition to learning about how the plant grows, companies also need the ability to track and trace the crop after it leaves the field. With mobile data collection, food suppliers and manufacturers can begin logging important information about food before it even leaves the farm. Down the line, this improves inventory control and has a number of other benefits.
Traceability is key to ensuring that companies can track the source of an infection in the event of a recall, make sure a product is moved before expiration and analyze the performance of suppliers. Interest among consumers in the food supply chain is at an all-time high, and knowing more details about the origin of ingredients is now a part of customer service. As farm-to-table trends continue to grow, commercial agriculture needs to show that it has the tools to provide food that is healthy and traceable. Data collection is essential to surviving in a changing food supply chain.