Big Data On The Farm
Technology Technology is changing agriculture and this Canadian company helps farmers increase their farm productivity through big data.
Agriculture has a long and storied history of being reshaped by technology, from the plow and irrigation through to GPS-enabled tractors and genetic engineering.
Agriculture itself is a technology, and one on which all of human civilization was founded, no less. In today’s information age, a collection of new data-driven technologies are poised to transform agriculture once again.
“The idea is to provide the growers with technologies that enable what we call precision agriculture,” says Saad Chafki, the Vice President of IT and PMO in La Coop fédérée's Agribusiness Division. “We're using big data, connected objects, and the Internet of Things to collect and analyze real-time data that can help the growers improve the productivity of their farms.”
That may sound very abstract, but the results are absolutely concrete. “For example, we can use several source of data such as satellite imagery, soil analysis, and yields of previous years, and using predictive algorithms we can recommend to the grower the right quantity of the fertilizer to use in a specific area of the field,” says Chafki. “The bottom line is that the grower saves on the cost of the input (fertilizer) for the same or better results, as well as realizing a positive impact on the environment.”
The real power of these data-driven technologies is that they integrate so easily into existing farming processes. The basic processes of growing crops and raising livestock remain the same, but these technologies make them dramatically more efficient.
This efficiency sells itself, and the new tech-savvy generation of farmers is embracing the innovations that enable it. They’re digital natives, after all. They’re used to having access to robust information at their fingertips on their computers, tablets, and smartphones. And that's the sort of technological solution that organizations like La Coop fédérée are now bringing to the farm.