Data Analytics Transforming Agriculture

Lawrence TillsonAugust 23, 2019

Data is on track to completely restructure and reform the agricultural market. Economic analysts predict that the global agriculture analytics market will jump from $585 million in 2018 to a whopping $1.236 billion in 2023. The fuel behind this drastic increase is the precision that the agriculture market has developed. As more farmers adopt technical solutions, like advance analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, the better they can track supplies, evaluate probability, generate predictive models, and increase yields. There are four ways data analytics can contribute to changing the way we approach agriculture.

Food demand around the world is set to double in the next thirty years, and it will be up to farmers and their suppliers to exploit data and innovation to increase productivity to feed an ever-growing population. Farmers equipped with soil sensors, GPS tractors, and local weather apps can implement agricultural practices with unforeseen insights. They can better manage their resources ranging from seed, fertiliser, and pesticides, and at the same time increase their productivity. One case study cites farmers using soil probes and sensors attached to their equipment and machinery to scan the farm as they move. The portal the sensors are connected to will compare their data to other farmers, and offer suggestions based on various conditions. The journal of Nature found that ending nutrient overuse in addition to sustainable intensification could increase the production of corn and grains by upwards of 30%.

Managing environmental challenges, particularly climate change, is another threat that data analytics can confront. Data-driven solutions can help farmers traverse shifts in environmental conditions as well as track crop health and various natural events such as pest or disease-based issues. By arming themselves with data, farmers can adjust their techniques to get ahead of adverse events and to alleviate the damages caused by environmental threats. According to Tufts University, by using smarter farming techniques the industry could rake in $2.3 trillion in savings and business opportunities on a yearly basis. A not-so-insignificant chuck of those savings, $250 billion will come from artificial intelligence and analytics. These savings can not only act as a buffer against competition but also as a source for reinvestment in their farms.

Farming, like most other businesses, is subjected to supply chains, and agriculture’s supply chain is predicted to have some of the most drastic changes. After the application of analytics, farmers will have a much simpler time tracing their products in the supply chain, and the retailers and distributors will be better prepared to customize their services to the needs of the agricultural market.

The addition of analytics to agriculture is one of the most important technological additions in the last decade. As climate change threatening the world’s food supply, farmers need, now more than ever, to adapt to become more fruitful, economical, and they can do so by revolutionizing the agricultural sector.

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