Top 5 Trends In Agriculture Technology

Emerging technology is arguably one of the most significant issues ahead for ag retailers. It is in that spirit that I present my top five technology trends, picked out as being the most important from the perspective of an information technology company.

1. Education. The first and probably the most important topic is education. With the rapid advances in computers and communication, it has become increasingly difficult for anyone in the agricultural community to keep pace with technical changes impacting field production. From understanding the genetics of seed relative to an environment, evaluating the best fertilizers, selecting the right combination of pesticides, or just understanding the day-to-day logistics of a farm operation, education is paramount for success.

In the near future, successful retailers will not be judged by price alone but also according to the materials they recommend in production and their support of sustainability practices on a farm. Consequently, retailers must develop a more “holistic” view of a farming operation. They must understand how each decision through a growing season impacts the next decision and how, collectively, decisions impact the environment and the final produce delivered to the food supply chain. Knowledge of production practices will be demanded not only by regulatory agencies but also be growing segment of the consuming public. The anticipated upstream pressure from the food supply chain can be met with on-farm operation that has accountability and traceability.

A subtler need in education is the modern understanding of integrated pest management (IPM) practices. With the rise of resistant pests, the choice of pest controls must be done more intelligently. Control decisions will require seasonal observations on the presence and movement of pests along with models predicting their future development. Visual observations will give way to diagnostic tests and written records will be replaced by electronic input using applications on smart mobile devices. Retailers that gravitate to these new tools and programs will save time and resources.

2. “Big Data.” Companies involved with the processing and storing of data refer to increasing amounts of computer-generated information as the “big data” challenge. As information becomes critical for good decision-making whether as part of the in-field support of a customer or between employees in a company, data must be collected, stored and interpreted in a timely manner. This data processing requires the maintenance of local computers and communication networks and their integration with systems over the Internet or “in the cloud.” Because of the overhead cost to maintain local computers and networks, many retailers will likely look to “cloud” solutions to process their data. That is, they will pay a fixed annual fee to remotely access computer and network services.

Remote access has the benefit of having a third-party hosting and maintaining the computer and communication infrastructure.  However, one big negative is that retailer’s data, because it is stored offsite, will be at the mercy of the third-party’s security solutions.  Consequently, a retailer must investigate the security track record of any third-party before signing on to their services.

Assuming a secure computer and communication infrastructure, whether local or remote, the processing of data, themselves, will continue to be a challenge. In order to use data in decision making, a retailer must ingest data, use formulas or models and visualization tools to convert them into usable products, integrate the various products, which can be in the form of text, graphs, tables, or maps, to create an operational “picture” of crop production in the field, and finally interpret this picture for the appropriate decisions during a growing season. Retailers would likely rely on information technology (IT) companies to assist in the processing of data for production decision making.

3. Robotics. Robotics is the use of robots or automated machines in place of humans to process information or to perform physical tasks. When you mention robots, most people think of an assembly line with robot arms constructing cars. But robotics is much more than that. It can be in the form voice recognition software that answers verbal questions from customers. It can be in the form of software that processes data and makes recommendations for production practices. In one sense, this software can be thought of as a “virtual” field manager. In the next few years, software mimicking the decision making of a manager will become increasingly important because of the “big data” challenge. No human can process the flood of data and other information in a timely manner to make a decision. Consequently, retailers will have to rely on software to ingest, convert, and integrate data into products and recommendations. Managers will still make the final decision but at a much higher, informed level by viewing products and recommendations. The same software for processing data can be used to send alerts to field managers about important events, such as severe weather.

The more classical role of robots will also become evident on the farm but at a much slower rate. Autonomous machines that are remotely directed using telematics will begin to appear in a limited role in the next few years.  These machines will first be employed in repetitive, simple tasks, such as for the loading and unloading of materials. Eventually, these machines will take the form of autonomous tractors planting seed, spreading fertilizers, applying chemicals, and harvesting crops.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

7 comments on “Top 5 Trends In Agriculture Technology

  1. value addition to products has been the top trends in our country Nigeria for now.These trends you have mentioned are yet to be thought of.Indeed Technology and production needs to be better up.

  2. […] Modern technology is now part of agriculture. Producers have adopted new farming technologies to meet the rising demand for food. Technology is also used to record and analyze the production process. Producers increase their efficiency and speed in supplying food products to the market with current technology. Suppliers, on the other hand, use technology to eliminate unnecessary delays and failures in their supply chains. Modern technology has also enabled consumers to order for fresh produce online and receive it at their doorstep. Social platforms have linked producers to new consumers and suppliers. […]

Management Stories

Engenia soybeans
ManagementCorn and Soybean Yield Forecasts Larger than Expected
August 17, 2017
The USDA’s August Crop Production report contained larger-than-expected forecasts for the 2017 U.S. corn and soybean crops. At 169.5 bushels Read More
ManagementU.S. Ag Secretary Introduces SCORE
August 17, 2017
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue signed a new agreement to support new and beginning farmers. On August 5, Perdue joined Read More
Water Drainage
StewardshipNew System Could Remove Two Water Pollutants from Ag Fields
August 14, 2017
Algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico use up the majority of the oxygen in the water, leading to massive Read More
ManagementThe DuPont-Granular Deal, Dicamba Update, and Upcoming Travel
August 11, 2017
Matthew Grassi joins Paul Schrimpf for the second week in a row to talk about DuPont’s acquisition of Granular, as Read More
Trending Articles
Iowa waterways
Stewardship2,600 Iowa Farmers Commit $8.7 Million to Water Quality Practices
August 9, 2017
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced Tuesday that a record number of Iowa farmers signed up to install nutrient Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100Cause of Gar Tootelian Fire Under Investigation
August 7, 2017
Over one hundred firefighters and equipment responded to a four-alarm shop fire at the Gar Tootelian, Inc. (GAR) facility in Read More
Rob Versprille
ManagementCeres Solutions, North Central Co-op Merger to Bring New Opportunities for Indiana, Michigan Farmers
August 1, 2017
More than 40,000 customers and almost 9,000 Indiana and Michigan farmers will begin doing business with the new Ceres Solutions Read More
CPS-Norwood-and-Dupont-reps
Eric SfiligojA Message to Ag Retailers: Do Tell Your Good Stories
July 26, 2017
As the daughter of a peanut farmer, Krysta Harden, Chief Sustainability Officer for DuPont Crop Protection, understands the importance ag Read More
Tim Hassinger Dow AgroSciences President and CEO
Crop InputsDow’s Tim Hassinger Named President, CEO of Lindsay Corp.
July 24, 2017
Lindsay Corp. has  announced the appointment of Timothy Hassinger as president and CEO and a member of its board of Read More
Stewardship‘Gonna Fly Now’ with Environmental Respect
July 20, 2017
One of the most memorable moments in movie history occurred in the Academy Award-winning 1976 film “Rocky.” Haven gotten his Read More
Latest News
Corn Seed
Seed/BiotechSeed Innovations Benefit All of the Seed Industry
August 17, 2017
Innovations from throughout the seed industry help address many of the economic, environmental and health issues we face as a Read More
SpreadersGVM to Introduce New Prowler at MAGIE
August 17, 2017
The newest Prowler in GVM’s line-up will be introduced next week at the Midwest Ag Industries Expo (MAGIE), August 23 Read More
AcreEdge bag
Seed/BiotechLandus Cooperative’s AcreEdge Seed Brand Gears Up for 2…
August 17, 2017
Growers in more than 26 Iowa and Minnesota counties are seeing field signs with a new brand name at end Read More
Engenia soybeans
ManagementCorn and Soybean Yield Forecasts Larger than Expected
August 17, 2017
The USDA’s August Crop Production report contained larger-than-expected forecasts for the 2017 U.S. corn and soybean crops. At 169.5 bushels Read More
ManagementU.S. Ag Secretary Introduces SCORE
August 17, 2017
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue signed a new agreement to support new and beginning farmers. On August 5, Perdue joined Read More
CHS-FFA-Minnesota
CropLife 100CHS and FFA: A Homerun Partnership
August 17, 2017
CHS hosted the Minnesota FFA for its annual FFA night at CHS Field. FFA students, educators and CHS leadership enjoyed Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100Gar Tootelian Foundation Donates Half Million Dollars t…
August 16, 2017
Students at Immanuel Elementary are looking forward to the first day of school for two reasons this year. One, they Read More
Water Drainage
StewardshipNew System Could Remove Two Water Pollutants from Ag Fi…
August 14, 2017
Algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico use up the majority of the oxygen in the water, leading to massive Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Top 10 Crop Protection Companies, Post-Mega Mergers
August 14, 2017
Everyone loves a good Top 10 list. In fact, some prominent celebrities such as David Letterman spent much of their Read More
ManagementThe DuPont-Granular Deal, Dicamba Update, and Upcoming …
August 11, 2017
Matthew Grassi joins Paul Schrimpf for the second week in a row to talk about DuPont’s acquisition of Granular, as Read More
Soybeans weeds
HerbicidesOngoing Evaluation Key to Controlling Weeds, Improving …
August 10, 2017
As the sun bears down on record U.S. soybean acres this August, farmers keep their eyes on their fields to Read More
Young Corn Plants
Seed/BiotechMycogen Seeds Offers Novel Product to Battle Pythium, O…
August 10, 2017
After a season plagued by seedling diseases caused by cool, wet soils at planting, farmers have a new option to Read More
Corn Field
FertilizerProtect Applied Manure Straight From the Manure Pit to …
August 10, 2017
Farmers who use liquid manure to fertilize corn crops can now mix Instinct nitrogen stabilizer in their pit for easy Read More
Iowa waterways
Stewardship2,600 Iowa Farmers Commit $8.7 Million to Water Quality…
August 9, 2017
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced Tuesday that a record number of Iowa farmers signed up to install nutrient Read More
Natives-First-Purple_Prairie_Clover
Seed/BiotechLa Crosse Seed Continues Focus on Soil and Water Conser…
August 9, 2017
La Crosse Seed is doing its part to lead communication to ag retailers across the country on the importance of Read More
HerbicidesAg Secretary Perdue Comments on Dicamba Issue
August 9, 2017
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue indicated to reporters this week that he would like to see the industry work out a Read More
Treated-Seed-in-planter
Seed/BiotechSeed Treatment Q&A: Insight from Iowa State’s…
August 8, 2017
Technology has changed drastically since the 1990s. Televisions are thinner, phones are smaller and tractors can steer themselves. Technology has Read More
soybeans
Seed/BiotechWhen and Why to Double Inoculate Your Soybeans
August 8, 2017
Double inoculation is the act of using a double application of a rhizobial inoculant. This quickly establishes high populations of Read More