Precision Ag Service: When is it Good Enough?
At the the 2016 InfoAg Conference, I remember asking the folks at the IBM Weather booth to give me a little more detail about the data they collect to build a forecast. What I got was a dizzying array of statistics, including a remarkable “40 terrabytes of data from various sources, including personal weather stations, global lightning detection systems, radar and location services, satellites, airports, and government and non-government agencies,” that goes into predicting weather and collecting data.
It was indeed impressive, but as I walked away, I asked myself, “So, is that good? Is 40 terrabytes enough? Would 80 be better? And if so, how much better?”
And it struck me how little we know about “good enough.” There are many seemingly impressive things we do in agriculture … practices in which we engage, but so often there’s not the confidence in the outcome to say, “I did the best I could.” There are seemingly always competing ideologies, practices, products, and beliefs that cause us to second-guess and often hold back adoption of precision practices.
To get our growers to the next level, we have to clearly define the value we, and our practices, bring to the table without overpromising. We climb the mountain of best practices and maximum productivity one rung at a time — and hopefully earn customer loyalty along the way.