The Role of Data Science in Agriculture
Just as advancements in technology are changing how business is done across the Internet, so too is data science playing a role in agriculture. Those of us who grew up far afield from any farm may not intuitively understand just how much data farmers need to do their job. In today’s infographic, originally produced by agriculture giant, Monsanto, we can see the types of data farmers collect on a regular basis and how data science is supporting them moving forward.
When a farmer decides when to plant, when to tend, and when to harvest their crop, they need to know specifics about:
- Weather patterns
- Soil composition
- Local pests and weeds
- Disease trends
The generalized information once tallied in a farmers’ almanac can now be customized for individual farmers. These farmers are using analytic tools any webmaster would recognize but applied to their specific farm and their specific challenges. If in the past a farmer tracked weather reports, today they can gain climatology insights based on real time data. Where before, farmers gathered various information about their soil and local pests, today they can review a dashboard with a full field characteristics report.
Why does it matter? Well, for companies that have honed their expertise in data, the opening of the agricultural market to their services represents a significant market expansion. As more data flows from fields, farmers need data-savvy partners to put the pieces together.
And of course, not only will the efficiency farmers realize lead to more profitable harvests and technological partnerships, it will also make them more productive, ensuring that we are able to feed a growing population.