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Most growers use Big Data information every day, sometimes without knowing it. Climate predictions and weather forecasts are based on Big Data algorithms that predict the future based on historical conditions and current data from the local or regional area. Just as with predicting the weather, the information that comes from Big Data mining can be interpreted and used in many ways. And when properly analyzed, Big Data techniques can give you useful information that offers real assistance with your operation.


Why You Need Big Data
Implementing Big Data can produce some real benefits for your operation. Not convinced yet? Take a look at some of the benefits below:

  1. Want to be better than your neighbor? Because Big Data encompasses a lot of information from several different sources, analyzing and using that data can help you create some really big-picture strategies so you can out-think and out-produce your competition.

    THE BENEFIT:
    Being able to track market trends and determine the most effective times to sell your products might let you position yourself favorably from a financial perspective.

  2. Cut back without cutting back. The information gained from your Big Data implementation can help you determine areas where you can run your operation more efficiently while reducing excess or redundant activities. 

    THE BENEFIT: This can lessen overhead costs and increase your overall profitability.

  3. You’re only as strong as your weakest link. Using both micro and macro operational models can help you pinpoint exact areas where your production is lagging, so you can determine the best ways to boost both growth and yield for your specific fields and crops. 

    THE BENEFIT:
    The information from soil sensors, weather forecasts and regional crop reports can help you manage your farming operations.

  4. Don’t get left behind! As Big Data implementations and strategies become more common across the business world, it makes sense that growers too, will need to adopt these technologies if they hope to stay competitive. 

    THE BENEFIT:
    Beginning the process now means you’ll have a head start on using the information Big Data can offer. 

The information you get from Big Data applications can help you meet both short-term and long-term goals while making sure you’re using your resources for your farming operation in the best ways possible.

Implementing Big Data Processes
In January of 2016, the Congressional Research Service published "Big Data in U.S. Agriculture," an examination of the most common uses of Big Data in agriculture and how it’s currently used by farmers, ranchers and agribusiness owners and managers in the U.S.

There’s quite a difference between the public data collected and compiled by government agencies, and what’s been gathered on the private level by companies and individual growers. Public Big Data sources collect information according to federal and state regulations (think: privacy concerns), whereas private firms may use the information they collect to provide services to their clients in a wide range of industries.

Precision Agriculture
The scalability of precision agriculture has made it a breakout technology in the field of agriculture, with useful information collected through:

  • GPS mapping
  • soil sensors
  • yield monitors

When publicly available Big Data and the analytical tools used by service providers are combined, the information can be used to create strategies and give you a significant competitive edge in the modern agricultural marketplace.

The equipment needed to harness Big Data is not cheap. Most growers start by retaining the services of a company that specializes in precision agriculture, and then they work their way up to larger implementations and applications over time. The ability to scale the implementation like this is a huge selling point for Big Data analytics and offers promising results for agricultural operations now and in the future.


To continue learning more about big data, check out the third and final part of our series here: Big Data Series: Modern Day Concerns


SOURCES:

https://agfundernews.com/what-is-ag-big-data5041.html
http://agriculture.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=2971
http://foundationfar.org/2016/03/22/worldwaterday/
https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44331.pdf
https://blogs.adobe.com/digitalmarketing/analytics/3-reasons-need-big-data-analytics-strategy/
http://fortune.com/2014/05/30/cropping-up-on-every-farm-big-data-technology/


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