There are so many questions regarding data again this year. How can I capture it? What do I do with it? Will I do anything with it? Sometimes that last one is the big one. If you have the means to capture data through the use of monitors, drones, imagery, planters, spreaders, etc by all means at least collect it. It can always be used at a future date. One of the things it will help you do is become a better record keeper which is going to be paramount moving forward not only with environmental concerns but marketing and the overall stability of each field you farm. Of primary concern though is quality of the data. One simple axiom, bad data in, bad data out. So proper calibration of monitors is crucial and proper input of any material used on those fields is also critical.
There seemed to be a lot of talk in the “big data” arena that premiums for traceability is not far off. Remember that the ultimate end user is beginning be very picky regarding food purchases and that is speaking loudly to the Walmarts, Kelloggs and so forth. The precision world is really getting shaken up. There are partnerships and relationships forming and changing almost daily in hopes of getting your data. In some cases this may benefit you, and in others maybe not so much. Get in touch with some who knows a little bit of what is going on out there and discuss it. You don’t have to “give” your data to anyone to profit from it. but there is also power in combining data which several companies out there are doing. You just need to be smart about what you are using.
One very clear piece of data happened to a client of mine this year. And it stuck out like a soar thumb.
Now this is so obvious that you most likely would see this without a monitor. However, white mold infestation was an issue in the area where this field was located. You can clearly pick out the areas that were treated for WM on the east and west side of woods that comes down the center. Earth-shattering, no. But, difference across soil types, across elevation, how many acres impacted, should we and can we move to post spray pre-harvest imagery for yield forecast to help with marketing? The options for information here are many. The point being is that information is valuable, and especially in tight margin years. So ask yourself, how many times have I went ahead and used some treatment that someone was selling with claims that this was the silver bullet that will be all and end all? This information will cost a lot less and provide much more. Let me know if I can help. If i don’t have an immediate answer have 100 guys I can call! So going into spring think about these things now!!