Battling Data Overload

I am getting a new computer. Actually, I already have it — in fact, I am typing this on it right now.

For most folks, this is an occasion for celebration. Anymore, you get much past two years with a computer, and the slog of outdated programs, spyware, and the continuously improving and updating equipment around it turns even the sweetest laptop into a box only slightly smarter than the average stapler.

So, why am I not ready to go dancing in the streets? Unlike my last upgrade, which arrived after my computer experienced a full, final and glorious collapse which took everything on the hard drive with it, my current computer is alive and well — and full of data.

I have a notoriously loaded desktop, most of which should have hit the recycle bin. But some of it has value. And to top it off, it’s not at all effectively organized. I’m suffering from data overload, and I’m ready to throw the whole thing out and start over from scratch.

It has also made me appreciate the role retailers who offer agronomic services to growers play with the average grower. My problem is, I’m busy, and no one in the editorial department has the luxury of an administrative assistant. So, like a grower who sees rain in the forecast and blessedly dry corn in the field … data be darned, we’ve got to roll. When deadlines are hitting around here and layouts and copy are due, well, it’s the same deal for me.

But that’s where the comparison ends. While I can find ways around my own inefficiency, once a grower has failed at data collection it’s “game over.” Or, as MFA’s Rick Greene says in the cover story, “I’d rather have no data than bad data.”

MFA places significant emphasis on equipment training, and conditioning the grower to place as much importance on setting up equipment and collecting sound data as they do prepping the planter or the combine. Greene notes that new equipment that more seamlessly integrate the systems that collect and produce the data is making a big difference. The industry is moving in the right direction, but there’s more work to do.

This year, I’ve gotten involved in the issue of data consistency and compatibility through involvement in the organization Ag Gateway. This assemblage of industry experts and organizations is facilitating the creation of data standards within several segments of agriculture, including precision agriculture. This year, an ag retail group was formed, and I’m pleased to be able to offer my input in the process as a member of the committee. As you can guess, no one has asked to see my laptop for ideas.

The folks involved are excited about the collaboration happening so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing progress in the months ahead. Look for updates from Ag Gateway in this space and online at www.CropLife.com.

I also want to add a sentence or two to encourage you to attend the Ag Retailers Association annual conference coming up the week after Thanksgiving. Daren Coppock and the conference team are putting together a fascinating lineup of sessions, and the networking with fellow retailers is tremendously valuable. Daren is especially interested in emerging technology, so you can expect to discover things you didn’t know.
Go to www.aradc.org for full conference information.

Leave a Reply

Opinion Stories

Eric SfiligojThe Cocktail Age Of Herbicides
July 20, 2015
An old saying claims that in many difficult situations, “two heads are better than one.” In the crop protection products Read More
OpinionTaming Data Overload
July 15, 2015
For the past couple of months, a significant chunk of my professsional efforts here have been dedicated to getting a Read More
Eric SfiligojGrowers: Keep Trying For 2015 Or Give Up?
July 13, 2015
With apologies to our friends in California, many of the country’s crop fields, particularly in the Midwest, seem to in Read More
Farmer on tablet
Eric SfiligojThe Never-Ending Battle Against Modern Agriculture
July 1, 2015
In the world of comic books, the character of Superman often refers to the fight to save the world as Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Aligned Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Feed Division Facilities Receive Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification
July 13, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Feed Division, a marketer and distributor of value-added feed ingredients for the aquaculture, livestock and pet food industries Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Expands To Brazil With Acquisition
July 8, 2015
BRANDT has acquired a majority interest in Target Brasil Fertilizantes Ltda. through its Brazilian subsidiary. Target Brasil manufactures, distributes and Read More
Latest News
StewardshipOhio Grower: Why Water Quality Matters To Me
August 3, 2015
Fresh off the first anniversary of last summer’s unfortunate Toledo Water Crisis — which was largely attributed in mainstream media Read More
Young soybean field
Industry NewsH.J. Baker To Build New Facility In Emporia, KS
August 3, 2015
H.J. Baker has announced the expansion of its Animal Health and Nutrition division with the ground breaking of a new Read More
Young corn plants
Crop InputsNufarm Reorganizing Ag, Industrial Vegetation Managemen…
August 3, 2015
Today Nufarm announced a reorganization of its Agriculture and Industrial Vegetation Management sales and marketing organizations effective August 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipExcellence Through Stewardship Reaches 30 Members
August 3, 2015
Excellence Through Stewardship, a non-profit that promotes the adoption of best practices and stewardship in agricultural technology, reached the milestone Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Aligned Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soy…
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
Biofuels Plant in Lousiana
Industry NewsIdle Biofuels Plant In Louisiana To Reopen As Ammonia F…
July 30, 2015
A Lithuania-based company plans to spend $265 million to reopen an idle biofuels refinery in Grant Parish as an ammonia Read More
FFA at Monsanto Booth at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Industry NewsFive Students Receive The 2015 Monty’s Plant Food Compa…
July 29, 2015
This fall, five college-bound students will have financial support through the Monty’s Plant Food Company FFA Scholarship. All five scholarship Read More
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum …
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More