Sorting through the complex and ever-changing nature of precision agriculture is challenging to say the least. But one thing is for certain, this industry is primed to prosper despite tough market conditions. In my view, these five “must-have” things need to happen to take precision agriculture to the next level in 2016.
- More APIs. In order to get to true “Plug And Play” compatibility across the industry, every software solution, in-cab computing console and wireless data transfer/cloud storage system needs to work with every color of equipment.
- Better data standardization across software, equipment systems. AgGateway is reportedly close to announcing the results of its Standardized Precision Ag Data Exchange (SPADE) project, so perhaps we will know more on this one soon.
- Uncover the Holy Grail of data management systems. So many data management systems, so little time to figure out which one(s) will rise to the top. Maybe in 2016 we can move the needle on figuring out which data management system will rule them all going forward.
- Convince FAA to abolish line-of-sight restrictions for rural UAV usage. Drone usage in agriculture is kind of in a bit of a lull lately as the industry waits on more-sensible regulations. Until the regulatory folks loosen the reigns on precision agriculture and allow operations in rural, low population areas to expand their scale beyond the current rules it will likely remain in a holding pattern.
- Make greater use of new predictive (or prescriptive) analytics offerings. Startup outfits like Mankato, MN-based Aglytix, FarmLink and Farmer’s Business Network and others like IBM’s Watson platform that promise advanced analytical analysis of yield and other forms of agronomic data are making some big promises on what growers can do using their platforms. Let’s hope one (or all of them) can deliver the goods in 2016.