The Intersection of Big Ag and Big Data

Agriculture will be an interesting space to watch over the next couple of years — GPS-driven automated combines, fertilization by drones, custom seeds based on microclimate parameters, and real-time data from remote soil sensors. The real disruption will be figuring out how to move away from corn and beans.

From The Economist:

INNOVATION is a word that brings to mind small, nimble startups doing clever things with cutting-edge technology. But it is also vital in large, long-established industries—and they do not come much larger or older than agriculture. Farmers can be among the most hidebound of managers, so it is no surprise that they are nervous about a new idea called prescriptive planting, which is set to disrupt their business. In essence, it is a system that tells them with great precision which seeds to plant and how to cultivate them in each patch of land. It could be the biggest change to agriculture in rich countries since genetically modified crops. And it is proving nearly as controversial, since it raises profound questions about who owns the information on which the service is based. It also plunges stick-in-the-mud farmers into an unfamiliar world of “big data” and privacy battles.

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