The world of information, data management, and sensors is increasingly becoming a part of modern agriculture. As we march toward a global population of 10 billion - - the "data harvest" will become an important part of the actual harvest. From an iPad that shows a map of the crop field overlaid with data such as soil type to "smart" planters that automatically adjust seed depth - - this will produce greater efficiency and increased yields (at current prices of $6 per bushel of corn, every 10-bushel-per-acre-increase in the yield on a farm of 2,000 acres would translate to $120,000 in additional revenue - - so droping $5,000 on better data management has a very nice ROI).
Gadgets are not new to farmers - - what is new is the volume and quality of data available to farmers. The era of "big data" has come to the farm - - farmers currently have the ability to easily utilize information to and from computers in the tractor cabs. Modern computing, with tools like the iPad and senors, have allowed farmers to make the leap from data to information to knowledge. The leap allows farmers to make better decisions - - from greater knowledge should come better decision making. Every business that exists now is a data business - - where the goal is better decision making in an uncertain and complex world. It will be interesting to see if real-time tractor cab generated information and knowledge makes it to the world of crop insurance and the commodity traders at Goldman Sachs - - real time crop data interfacing with real time global markets.
Keep an eye on Precision Planting and MachineryLink, Inc. for the latest on innovation and advancement in the Era of Big Data Farming.