Big Data Essentials

5 things to consider before diving into the world of big data

Shearer recommends farmers think through these five considerations before diving into the world of big dataThe initial setup of precision agriculture systems, software and sensors is a critical step for farmers who are interested in using big data in their operations, according to Scott Shearer, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Ohio State University. Collecting accurate yield data is especially important.

Shearer advises working with technical experts who are knowledgeable about the specific farm machinery and technology a farmer intends to use.

“Yield data is a fundamental piece when analyzing farm data,” Shearer says. “Just as it’s hard to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour if you don’t have a vehicle, it’s impossible to do big data analysis on a farm without a trustworthy yield map.”

  1. Yield monitors are must-have tools that are essential for collecting and archiving production data.
  2. Auto-steer, planter row-shutoff and auto-boom section control in sprayers are technologies farmers should strongly consider, if they’re not already in use.
  3. There is great potential to influence yield with precision planters that can control seed placement depth.
  4. Optimize variety placement and increase the odds of improving yield by using planters with dual hybrid meters that allow you to plant varieties that match seed characteristics with field data.
  5. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding unmanned aerial vehicles, but final regulations on their use may determine just how useful and practical they will be to farmers.

Many big-data-analysis programs are available to farmers. Evaluate multiple options before making a decision and be sure to review policies on privacy and data ownership.

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