Ag data from tractors, combines, planters, and other farm machinery present a huge opportunity for growers to manage their operations more efficiently, but only if all the sources of that data can communicate. Syngenta is helping to lead a project aimed at doing just that.
The Agricultural Data Application Programming Toolkit (ADAPT) is a project that Ag Gateway, a nonprofit consortium of more than 230 ag businesses, is spearheading. Syngenta and its wholly owned subsidiary, Ag Connections LLC, are actively engaged members and have played significant roles in the years-long process of bringing ADAPT to life.
Andres Ferreyra, Ph.D., manager of special projects at Ag Connections, has worked as one of the key architects, and Tyler McGee, system architect with Syngenta, is the project manager. Additionally, Premier Crop Systems, a precision ag-data processing and analysis company that Syngenta Ventures recently invested in, is contributing to the project.
“ADAPT is a translator that allows growers to speak with the rest of the world,” said McGee. “It’s an initiative that fits in well with our commitment to make farming more efficient for the American grower.”
Because so much data flows in and out of growers’ farm-management systems today, it can be difficult for them to know what to do with it all, Ferreyra explained. “How can a rainbow cause problems for growers? When they have equipment that’s green, red, yellow and blue, representing different manufacturers, and none of it speaks the same language,” he said. “ADAPT can help them overcome this language barrier”
Growers enrolled in the Syngenta AgriEdge Excelsior program already have access to ADAPT-compatible farm-management software called Land.db. The software, designed by Ag Connections, allows growers to not only find efficiencies on their own land, but also export complete regulatory reports and share their information with retailers and advisers. This exchange of information gives growers an advantage in an industry with little room for error.
“You can’t harvest a field again if the data is wrong the first time,” said Mark Stelford, general manager of Premier Crop Systems and chair of the ADAPT Oversight Committee. “People can get upset very quickly – and rightly so – if their systems aren’t working well together.”
ADAPT could be a reality for growers nationwide as soon as 2018. Right now, companies are building plug-ins and implementing trial runs to see how the data flows through the system.
Although many of the companies that participate in Ag Gateway compete head-to-head in the marketplace, when it comes to ADAPT, they all work together.
“If we collaborate, it will be better for everyone,” Ferreyra said. “Then each company can focus on making its products better, instead of competing with one another on the basic infrastructure we all need.”