Big data and smart farming: the importance of data to optimize agricultural practices

The digital transformation of companies puts data at the center of many business sectors. Smart farming has a huge impact on the work of farmers. Thanks to the evolution of technologies, the development of sensors on agricultural fields allows to increase the volume of collected data. These optimize water resources, watering, monitoring of green spaces and crops.

Data concerns all sectors including agriculture

Data-driven farmer innovation is about leveraging data and optimizing practices. Agricultural data offers time savings and cost rationalization.

For example, producers benefit from yield traceability to better predict harvest levels, preserve the environment and optimize sales. Thanks to a management software, farmers can insert all the data related to their professional practices in the office or in the field.

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Big data in agriculture: challenges and use cases

Big data encompasses data from various digital devices, software and applications. This solution makes it possible to process a large amount of information from various sources. Big data ensures the interoperability of digital tools to organize, analyze and exploit data. These come from consoles integrated in various machines:

  • weather stations,
  • tractors,
  • combine harvesters,
  • etc.

The computerized devices connected to the agricultural machines detect a lot of information: areas covered, interventions carried out, quantity of products harvested and climatic indications. Thanks to decision support tools (DST), interventions are easier and more relevant. This precision agriculture pilots the crops to better store observations, visualize the interventions made and use inputs. DMOs allow technical operators to monitor crops remotely and optimize field visits.

The future prospects offered by agricultural data

The future prospects of agricultural data integrate smart farming through iot. The innovation of technologies such as connected consoles, drones or sensors enhances the value of agricultural data, in order to perform accurate predictive analysis on the health, weather and economic situation.

Agricultural data optimizes farms by simplifying the work of farmers, while improving productivity efficiency. The increase in the volume of data via big data aims at a high-precision, economical and ecological agriculture, making it possible to check the water status of the land, the health status of the plants, the quality of milk, etc.

According to an economic study, investment in agricultural big data has already doubled in 2015 to $4.6 billion. In a decade, the arrival of GPS-enabled tractors has evolved considerably. We’ve gone from one hectare to millions of geolocated data. In France, 46% of tractors are equipped with GPS data.

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