There are few industries where scale is more important than in agriculture.
Farms that stretch for as far as the eye can see might contain millions of individual plants. We might lovingly tend each potato plant in our allotment, but on an industrial scale, it is impossible to understand what is happening on a micro scale.
That is until Big Data made its mark in the agricultural industry.
There are so many challenges that might be better solved with a closer understanding of the underlying situation. Over a third of food produced is lost or wasted each year. Globally, that amounts to $940bn in lost revenue. Crops are planted inefficiently, harvested haphazardly and watered ineffectively. Unexpected weather events can wreak havoc, and the consumer is often a fickle beast. There is before we get to the more involved issues of genetics and nutrition.
Big Data is hitting the fields
Sensors can provide data on soil conditions, irrigation, and fertilizer requirements while keeping an eye on the weather. GPS trackers and drones can direct the farmers to use their resources in the optimal fashion and track the growth of their crops. All the while, the data can be crunched to allow farmers to optimise their output …