Grower Perspective: 6 Takeaways From The PrecisionAg Innovation Series

Data On The Farm: Successes, Pain Points And Opportunities panel, including Steve Pitstick (center, second from left) and moderator Lisa Prassack (far right).
The Data On The Farm: Successes, Pain Points And Opportunities panel, including Steve Pitstick (center, second from left) and moderator Lisa Prassack (far right).

On Tuesday, January 26, 2016, I joined the over 235 strong for learning, participating and networking at the 2nd PrecisionAg Innovation Series event “Finding What Works: Data Integration from the Ground Up” in St. Louis, MO.

Co-chairs of the event Paul Schrimpf, Executive Editor of PrecisionAg / CropLife Magazines, and Lisa Prassack, President of Prassack Advisors, guided us growers, together with industry leaders and emerging agriculture technology players, through a high-quality, jam-packed day to hear speakers and panels on how to create solutions that work on the farm.

In attendance were some of the most innovative growers and agronomists in corn, soybean and wheat farming and I was proud to be included among this group. These pragmatists have fueled forward momentum in agriculture by advising on technology that works – they have provided their advisory services include: 640 Labs, Farmer Business Network, FieldView, HydroBio, Precision Planting, Sage Insights and companies bar coding seeds and chemicals in the grower workflow.

  1. Each Grower Shared their Perspective on their Experience Using Data on the Farm

Great points that were appreciated and honestly shared and discussed were:

  • Farmers are looking for a higher level of detail in all areas of data collection.
  • Farmers desire incorporation of consumer devices because they become familiar with them in the off-season.
  • Adoption of precision technology is slow because of lack of peer pressure to implement.
  • ROI reasons to collect data have been lacking (show us why we should).
  • The array of solutions is overwhelming to producers.
  • They need better definition and use purpose

2. Data Integrators Offerings Revealed

The agronomists and precision agriculture consultants were representative of the best of the grower “trusted advisors”. Most farmer advisors are the people selling them inputs, thus not a disinterested third party. As a result growers are not getting introduced to, nor access to the best possible solutions for their farms. We need more field expertise and independence to truly solve the grower’s demands for return on investment from solutions on the path to precision.

3. Standards on the Threshold – Spades Project

After years of meetings, there appears to be a set of standards on the very near horizon. Jeremy Wilson, co-chair of the precision agriculture council of the standards body Ag Gateway, presented breakthroughs in the community that are demonstrating renewed commitment, focus and a sense of urgency to solve the demands for consistent standards and compliance in data management.

4. Internet of Things

Chris Rezendes of Inex Advisors shared examples of doing the work of the “Internet of Things” in the field. We appreciated his IoT domain knowledge and focus on driving adoption and outcomes. His graphic of the four corners region showed a lack of water – and not surprisingly – also a lack of sensors. This graphic relates to crop production many times as without enough information or the right information – the “wrong dogs” are chased.

5. Sustainability

Growers are the original stewards of the land. The Environmental Defense Fund with consumer facing brands like WalMart and General Mills are asking us for more traceability and reporting than we are able to deliver with today’s data and software systems. As mentioned before, we are looking for greater detail in data collection and hope to see this combined with integration and easier data presentation that will be more the norm than today’s lack of availability or early stage efforts.

6. Farmer Data Coops

Developing ways to store, catalogue, and easily analyze the ever-growing mountain of ag data harvested every day are a major, yet essential, project to tackle for all growers with the support of their trusted advisors – and what is now emerging – farmer data co-operatives.

Jeff Kirwan, a grower in Illinois, discussed the value of a small (20) users group data repository, in this case the information has to be almost perfect going in due to the small amount and the collaboration of the growers to drive toward better data collection, benchmarking and use. Jason Ward, from GISC, a farmer co-operative with over 8,000 grower members discussed the benefits of a neutral “white puffy” cloud to hold farmers data.

Is the fear of data misuse by the “evil dark clouds” easily overcome by the benefits of a large set of data that potentially has value to the farmer provider almost immediately? And is there an opportunity to create sub data sets within these larger groups to add more focused value?

What’s Next?

We look forward to continued progress and the opportunity to learn what other industries outside of agriculture are doing to solve these complex problems. Our particular interest is with the use leading technology in sensors, connectivity and analysis of the right data to enable informed decisions to do a job well on the farm. See you at the 3rd PrecisionAg Innovation Series!

Leave a Reply

Data Management Stories
Data ManagementCDMS Announces SeedIQ Acquisition
June 26, 2017
Crop Data Management Systems, Inc., (CDMS) announces the acquisition of SeedIQ as part of its growth plan to provide complete Read More
Soil Scientists
Data ManagementAccessing USDA Soil Data for Precision Farming
June 13, 2017
Many precision farming websites have integrated the USDA NRCS soil survey database using the USDA Soil Data Access web portal. Read More
BASF Maglis Grower Tablet
Data ManagementData as Currency in Ag: We Aren’t There Yet
May 25, 2017
A hot topic in the precision ag revolution is the idea ag data will become a form of currency. Many Read More
Farming iPad
Data ManagementOpinion: ROI or Die in Precision Agriculture
May 12, 2017
The thought of $3.50 corn for the foreseeable future seems pretty disheartening. However, if you look at the precision ag Read More
Trending Articles
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
EventsPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Gavin Newsom Forbes AgTech-Summit
ProfessionalsAgTech Summit Aiming High for Modern Farming Solutions
June 12, 2017
THRIVE AgTech, in partnership with SVG Partners and Forbes, is hosting the third annual Forbes AgTech Summit June 28-29 in Read More
Quantix Drone Farmer
DronesTop 10 Most Intriguing Technologies in Agriculture
June 3, 2017
This may be a bit of stating the obvious here, but we’ll throw it out there anyways: as much as Read More
Farming iPad
Data ManagementOpinion: ROI or Die in Precision Agriculture
May 12, 2017
The thought of $3.50 corn for the foreseeable future seems pretty disheartening. However, if you look at the precision ag Read More
BASF Maglis grower retailer tablet
Data ManagementQ&A: What BASF’s Latest Foray into Precision Ag Means For Growers
May 11, 2017
In late April, BASF agreed to acquire U.S. precision ag player ZedX, a leader in the development of agronomic weather, Read More
Mung beans Australia
InternationalPrecision Ag in a Tough Season in Australia
May 8, 2017
This year’s summer crop season has been a tough one for most growers in Australia. Prolonged periods of high temperatures Read More
Latest News
Ag Retailer and Growers with tablet WinField United
Grower Services & SolutionsWinField Adds AkerScout App to Answer Tech
June 27, 2017
As farmers and retailers, we know it’s important to have the latest news and insights about tools that can make Read More
Data ManagementCDMS Announces SeedIQ Acquisition
June 26, 2017
Crop Data Management Systems, Inc., (CDMS) announces the acquisition of SeedIQ as part of its growth plan to provide complete Read More
Cotton closeup
Imagery/SensingCotton Growth Management with Precision Agriculture
June 20, 2017
A cotton crop presents some important differences to other commodities that are widely produced in Brazil, such as soybean and Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsCNBC: Inside Amazon’s Whole Foods Takeover
June 20, 2017
Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods sent the stock of competing grocery chains plummeting. To understand why, you need to know Read More
DronesNavigating a New World: Drone Technology in Agriculture…
June 20, 2017
My first exposure to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was as a master’s student at Kansas State University. I was researching Read More
Precision Ag Innovation Series
EventsInnovation Series Agenda Zeroes In On Maximizing Key Se…
June 14, 2017
In a recent survey of service providers conducted by PrecisionAg® Professional magazine, more than seven in 10 indicated that variable Read More
Soil Scientists
Data ManagementAccessing USDA Soil Data for Precision Farming
June 13, 2017
Many precision farming websites have integrated the USDA NRCS soil survey database using the USDA Soil Data Access web portal. Read More
GEOSYS In-Season Imagery
Decision Support SoftwareGeosys Announces Imagery and Weather Data Offering
June 13, 2017
Geosys, a provider of agronomic decision support tools, today launched Geosys Labs, a new program that will make its global Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
EventsPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Decision Support SoftwareMyriad Mobile Raises $1.5 Million to Launch New Ag-Tech…
June 12, 2017
Myriad Mobile, a software technology company focused on mobile and web applications, has raised $1.5 million in a Pre-Series A Read More
center-pivot-irrigation-drop-sprinklers-on-corn
Variable Rate ApplicationVariable-Rate Fertigation Can Be Simple
June 12, 2017
A rule is a rule is a rule, right? Well, not always. Sometimes, rules are meant to be changed. Most Read More
Gavin Newsom Forbes AgTech-Summit
ProfessionalsAgTech Summit Aiming High for Modern Farming Solutions
June 12, 2017
THRIVE AgTech, in partnership with SVG Partners and Forbes, is hosting the third annual Forbes AgTech Summit June 28-29 in Read More
Sensors/IoTLeveraging IoT to Improve Data Collection for Agricultu…
June 12, 2017
Between population growth and climate change, farms of all sizes are being challenged to increase yields. Internet of Things (IoT) Read More
DronesAg Drone Update: The Hunt for 1,000 (OPINION)
June 10, 2017
Having obtained my FAA Part 107 Commercial Drone Operators license back in September of last year, I’ve spent the past Read More
Industry NewsMergers & Acquisitions: Land O’Lakes Tosses E…
June 9, 2017
Land O’Lakes has made a minority equity investment in EFC Systems, an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and precision solution provider Read More
Mixmate-featured-image
Decision Support SoftwareHandy Software, Hardware for the Field
June 7, 2017
More than two decades ago, Iowa grower Doug Applegate wished for a “little portable chemical blending system” that could easily Read More
Decision Support SoftwareHarnessing A Team To Build Your Own Software
June 7, 2017
What’s a powerhouse retail network to do when it can’t find a software system to meet incredibly diverse needs? Build Read More
Tim Ferrell Marshall County Co-op
Decision Support SoftwareWhen It’s Time To Switch Software
June 7, 2017
No one in their right mind wants to change software. That’s the opinion of Tim Ferrell, manager of Marshall County Read More