Grower and Precision Ag Services: Opportunities Lost

I often spend time with growers, talking about their operations, and the processes they go through each season to do what they do on the farm.

Reflecting on the content of these discussions, it’s obvious to me that the volume of data being collected by producers that ends up either completely unused, or seriously underused, is even larger than I once thought.

As an industry, we continue the push to get growers to invest in more and more technology — technology that is capturing valuable data about what’s happening in producer fields. However, it’s clear to me that this data is not only being allowed to lay fallow, but the level of apathy among producers about ever being able to realize the promise these technologies are supposed to deliver is growing.

That’s disappointing. The best quote I heard from recent discussions was this: “I’ve collected yield data for 12 years and planting data for six, but still don’t think the data has brought me any value!”

Service providers today have the ability to access more data than ever before to help producers make data-driven decisions. Every grower I meet with is asked the same question: “If your data identified changes in your operation that could increase efficiency or increase profitability, would you make the change? “Eight out of nine growers said “YES!”

So, why is data not being used today? Reading between the lines of producer comments, and based on my own experience, these are the top four reasons:

  1. Data is too difficult or complicated.
  2. It takes too much time or effort to incorporate data.
  3. There’s no understanding of where to begin.
  4. And in some cases, people aren’t even sure where “their data” exists for them to get it.

Topping it all off, producers see in the agricultural press all the time where massive amounts of money are changing hands in the name of bringing innovation to agriculture. But somehow, it never ever seems to impact a producer’s operation to the extent it helps them, the producer, to be more successful.

Someone, somewhere else it seems, is benefiting from these headline-making transactions. This adds to this apathy and feeling of helplessness so many of these producers I visit with are able to articulate.

What’s Next?

So what is the future for producers and their use of data technology?

One thing is certain: producers will have many opportunities to continue to invest in new hardware and data systems in the future. These systems will likely continue to ingest increasingly large amounts of data coming from the farm. Sometimes it will be with the assistance of the producer while at other times, it will occur in spite of the producer. It’s likely in the future these “systems” will, in fact, know more and more about a producer’s operation, putting these “systems” in a position to generate revenue in many different ways.

Some will get better at making farm information visible to the producer. But if past experience is any guide, producers will be left to themselves to figure out what to do ­if anything — with what these “systems” tell them.

This recent round of visits with producers confirms one thing: there is opportunity for those who want to help producers be more successful, not only by selling a gallon, ton, or bag of something that someone else manufactures, but by demonstrating real, sincere commitment to creating value for the producer by supporting their decision-making processes.

The service provider of tomorrow will find ways to offer more consultative-type services to growers. And I would argue that growers today have the data to begin to analyze their operations to bring greater profitability and/or efficiencies.

So, what’s the first step in this process? Go talk to your growers and find those who are wanting to take a deeper look into the data they have collected. It’s likely to be an interesting conversation.

Leave a Reply

Grower Services & Solutions Stories
Farmers Edge Truck
Australia/New ZealandFarmers Edge, Nufarm Partner in Australia
June 27, 2018
Farmers Edge announced on Wednesday it will partner with Nufarm Limited in Australia to distribute its precision ag products and Read More
AmericasMFA Precision Head Talks Precision Ag, Cover Crops at 2018 4R Summit
June 18, 2018
Although implicit to anyone that spends a good chunk of their career in agriculture, the link between advanced precision technology Read More
AmericasIndigo Touts ‘New Approach to Agricultural R&D’
June 13, 2018
Indigo, the Boston-based microbial crop technology startup that has raised more than $400 million, announced it is expanding its research Read More
Parkland College Student Training
AmericasBushel Garners $7 Million Private Investment Round
May 10, 2018
Bushel today announced a $7 million private investment round to accelerate its patent-pending digital platform for the grain industry. The Read More
Trending Articles
EventsHighlights from the 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture
July 9, 2018
The 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture (ICPA) presented by the International Society of Precision Agriculture (ISPA) was held in Montreal, Read More
Topcon X30 Console in cab
EventsAssociation Seeks Definitive Definition of “Precision Agriculture” — What’s Your Vote?
July 2, 2018
More than two-dozen definitions of precision agriculture have been identified through the years — but which is the best and Read More
AmericasRaven Name to Grace New South Dakota State University Facility
June 27, 2018
According to a press release issued by the company, Raven Industries was recognized today in the naming of South Dakota Read More
DronesNew York Apple Orchard Claims World First in Pollination by Drone
June 18, 2018
Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard in LaFayette, NY, is the first orchard in the world to use drones to pollinate Read More
Sensors/IoTJohn Deere, Pessl Instruments Team Up to Create Opportunities
June 18, 2018
John Deere is best known for its line of tractors, combines, sprayers, and implements. However, in an effort to help Read More
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key to Transforming Global Agriculture
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More
Latest News
Industry NewsFarmobile Acquires Prime Meridian, Taps Cubbage as New …
July 13, 2018
Farmobile today announced an agreement to acquire the assets of Prime Meridian, a precision agriculture data management company based in Read More
DronesPrecision Agriculture Takes Flight at North Carolina St…
July 13, 2018
Take a walk into the Suggs Laboratory for Precision Agriculture and Machine Systems and it’s hard not to be impressed, Read More
DronesAutomated Weeders Have Arrived in Vegetable Fields
July 12, 2018
The vegetable production areas of the Central Coast of California have lifted vegetable cultivation to a high art, writes Richard Read More
AgJunction, InfoAg 2014, Autosteer, GPS
Industry NewsAgJunction Settles with Raven in Patent Infringement Su…
July 12, 2018
AgJunction Inc., a leader in advanced guidance and autosteering, has settled a patent infringement lawsuit it filed against Raven Industries, Read More
Business ManagementTaking Measure of the Precision Agriculture Program: 6 …
July 12, 2018
In the overall agriculture market, the rhetoric surrounding emerging technology over the past half-decade has been nothing short of breathless. Read More
Industry NewsNew Raven Slingshot Advancements Will Help Save Time, R…
July 11, 2018
Raven Industries, Inc. has announced several new services available on the Slingshot and Viper 4 platforms: Job Generator and Job Read More
Industry NewsAgIntegrated Acquires Exclusive Licence to Satshot’s Im…
July 11, 2018
AgIntegrated, Inc. (AGI), a leader in precision ag data integration and software development, and Satshot, a leader and pioneer in Read More
Australian Harvest
Australia/New ZealandAustralian Agritech Plants Blockchain for Efficiency
July 11, 2018
“Agritech” at one time would have meant new equipment such as tractors and combine harvesters, but today it refers to Read More
AsiaIndia: Using Artificial Intelligence for the Good of Fa…
July 11, 2018
After graduating from IIT-Madras, the first thing that Vivek Rajkumar did was to buy four acres near Thiruvananthapuram and start Read More
Industry NewsForbes List of Innovative Ag-Tech Companies Includes Gr…
July 9, 2018
Forbes magazine recently posted a list of the 25 most innovative ag-tech startups in 2018, which includes a few companies Read More
AmericasNutrien Ag Solutions Brand, New Digital Platform Launch…
July 9, 2018
Nutrien (formerly Crop Production Services) has officially rebranded its retail business to Nutrien Ag Solutions, aligning the company’s retail operations Read More
EventsHighlights from the 14th International Conference on Pr…
July 9, 2018
The 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture (ICPA) presented by the International Society of Precision Agriculture (ISPA) was held in Montreal, Read More
Industry NewsTerrAvion Integrates Aerial Imagery with John Deere Ope…
July 6, 2018
TerrAvion, Inc., a large volume provider of aerial imagery to agriculture, has announced an integration to allow TerrAvion’s aerial imagery Read More
Data ManagementAgriculture’s Next Breakthrough: New Technologies…
July 3, 2018
We live in an exciting time in agriculture. Not only is technology advancing rapidly, but the understanding and comprehension of Read More
Precision IrrigationNotes from the Field: A Look at Irrigation Management P…
July 2, 2018
One of the things I love most about my work is making periodic treks into the field – more often Read More
Topcon X30 Console in cab
EventsAssociation Seeks Definitive Definition of “Preci…
July 2, 2018
More than two-dozen definitions of precision agriculture have been identified through the years — but which is the best and Read More
Industry NewsAg Equipment Manufacturers: 3 Trends to Shape Farming G…
July 2, 2018
Bottom line instead of brand loyalty. Tractors and harvesters will look more like computers. Data will drive productivity. These are Read More
Ag Retailer and Growers with tablet WinField United
Service ProvidersPrecision Ag Technology: Act Like You’ve Been There Bef…
July 2, 2018
One of my dad’s favorite, albeit borrowed, sayings was, “Act like you’ve been there before.” He was mostly referring to Read More