Big Data Sowing the Seed of Smart Farming
“The World doesn’t need any more Engineers. We didn’t run out of planes and television sets…. we ran out of food.”
It sounds like a familiar dialogue. Isn’t it? Feeding to your memory, this is one of the most historic and hard-hitting dialogues from an all-time Hollywood blockbuster movie Interstellar.
How the movie perceived the future of the agriculture sector is on the verge of becoming a reality pretty soon. This was a science fiction movie but the predictions it made for the agriculture sector will soon be the true story of the farmers.
Big Data is already bringing the long-awaited Green revolution for the agriculture sector. The economy of any country heavily depends on its agriculture sector. Its often said that for a country to progress continuously, it must always work on better technological advancements. But the fact is the sector that needs the most attention is definitely the agriculture sector. It either makes the economy strong or it breaks it.
BIG DATA REVIVING THE AGRICULTURE SECTOR
The lack of application of Big Data and analytics was making it difficult for farmers to be productive and effective enough. It was manually not possible to diagnose the health of the soil. Also, the crop growth was restricted, all this made it difficult for the nation to feed the population.
Well, it is rightly said that necessity is the mother of invention. No doubt, that Big Data, and analytics is one such. The applications of Big Data have revolutionized the E-commerce, Healthcare, Transportation, Finance, Banking, and Manufacturing sectors. There was a strong need for insights on-farm productivity as well. Agriculture might soon see some biggest transformations through Big Data analytics.
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Farmers with the application of Big Data and analytics to calculate harvest yields, fertilizer demands, cost savings and to develop optimization strategies for future crops.
Additionally, these insights will help them to understand when to irrigate, sow, harvest, and where to patch the land that can be used for farming.
It’s sad but, true that Agriculture is the sector responsible for feeding the individuals of the country, but the people involved in it are the last to be taken care of.
These are the key areas where Big Data would make a farmer’s life easier —
- Weather Forecasting
The unpredictability of natural conditions is one of the biggest risk factors for farmers. Before the advent of Big Data, it was almost impossible for the farmers to predict natural events. Though some veteran farmers were sometimes able to predict the same taking into account a number of factors.
Big Data and analytics can help them in predicting the upcoming events. By gathering the previous as well as the present data and gaining insights from it through some sort of analysis, Big Data will surely revitalize the future yields. This will avoid the crops from being destroyed and thus will save farmers a lot of money. This will enhance the smooth working of the supply chain system.
- Supply Chain Management
Getting the appropriate price for their crops and that too on time is what a farmer desires the most. This is something that decides the future of the farmers. The smooth working of the supply chain management system ensures a sigh of relief for the farmers. Often, a farmer is bound to a particular supplier or partner. Their partner decides the price that they will get for the crops. And often justice is not been served. Farmers don’t really get the proper value of their crops.
Big Data is here to eradicate these issues that hinder the smooth working supply chain management through the insights it provides about the crops each season. This will help everyone who is involved in the supply chain including suppliers, retailers, packers, etc. This data can provide valuable insights such as the current progress of the crops, the amount of crops sown and the demand of the crops in the market.
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- Big Data as a ScareCrow
Big data drives the incorporation of modern tech into the field. UAVs or drones can be used to fly over and assess land patterns. The mapping data collected can then be analyzed and scoured for useful intel. Maybe erosion in a particular section of cropland warrants dealing with this year? The use of crop sensors must be a common practice as it allows farmers to use fertilizers more effectively.
They can now be aware of the crop quality in advance and can take measures to reduce leaching the groundwater run-off. They are now furnished with real-time insights about the amount of fertilizers to be applied.
Alternatively, IoT sensors can track and monitor croplands and plants remotely and accurately predict the amount of fertilizer it requires based on the amount of light it reflects back to the sensor.
- Risk Assessment
Different businesses with the help of their management and planning teams have successfully implemented risk assessment strategies in order to be safe from huge losses. But until now it is not the same when we talk about the agriculture sector. Though experience-based predictions do help farmers but not every time.
But data-driven risk assessment would increase their efficiency to a great extent. With Big Data coming into the picture, each and every decision or event can be taken into consideration for implementing an efficient risk analysis plan. Every wrong decision can be taken into account along with its solution as well as a list of expected results. Farmers would now be able to take more accurate decisions than they have ever done.
THE ERA OF SMART FARMING
After failing institutions, the time has indeed come for technology to take over the charge. With newer problems cropping up every day in the most inevitable indigenous sectors, it is high time we resort to emerging technologies for solutions. Talking about technology, Big Data is here for the rescue. With Smart Farming and Precision Agriculture, a lot has advanced in these years. Yet, a lot has to be done.
Coming to Smart Farming — Satellite-based filed monitoring, Embedded sensors on crops and fields, Predictions on wind direction, Fertilizer requirement notifications, Pest infestations, GPS-enabled tractors, Water cycles, The rich information on soil health, water availability, and predictions on rainfall and precipitation make all of these a data source. And here I welcome you to the world of Smart Farming, courtesy to Big Data and Analytics.
Big Data and analytics has now also enabled monitoring and supervision for growth rate and nutrient requirements on a plant-by-plant basis. Moreover, analytics is enabling farmers to make data-driven decisions like which crops to plant for their next harvest. The rich information on soil health, water availability, and predictions on rainfall and precipitation make this data source.
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