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What Can Big Data Do For You? - 4th March 2014

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Tuesday 4th March 2014.
Sarah Mikesell - TheCropSite Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell
Senior Editor



What Can Big Data Do For You?

Greetings from the Windy City! I’ve been traveling four out of the last five weeks and even though it’s really cold in suburbs of Chicago, I’m SO happy to be Home Sweet Home!

I’m just back from sunny San Antonio, Texas where I was covering Ag Issues Forum – a media event hosted by Bayer CropScience – and Commodity Classic – the annual conference for US corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum producers.

With grain prices lower than year-ago levels, there was some question about how many farmers would attend the show versus last year, but attendance was UP by 1,000 – putting the total at about 7,200 attendees.

One of the hot topics at the show was “Big Data.” Whoever has the data AND can analyze and use it will be the big winner.

Last Wednesday, on the front page of The Wall Street Journal was an article titled On the Farm, Data Harvesting Sows Seeds of Mistrust. The article is all over this idea of Big Data, and how Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer will use it as they roll out “prescriptive planting” technology to US farmers.

Monsanto estimates that data-driven prescription planting could increase worldwide crop production by $20 billion a year (yes, that’s a B for billion). For example, the current US corn average of 160 bushels per acre could get bumped up to more than 200 bushels per acre, generating an extra $182 an acre in revenue for farmers.

For now though, US farmers are only seeing a 5 to 10 bushel per acre increase. But those numbers will go up as more farmers join and more data is available.

Oh yes, let’s not forget the tech component in all this - it's about a lot more than biotech seed. Monsanto has just acquired Climate Corp. Land O’Lakes recently bought satellite-imaging specialist Geosys. And DuPont/Pioneer will collaborate with weather and markets specialist DTN.

It appears to me that all the pieces are coming together to bring in 200+ bushels per acre (with an emphasis on the +), it’s just a matter of integrating them.

Farmers are concerned about who will have access to their data – one of their biggest worries is that traders might use this info to pull some of the volatility out of the market.

To read The Wall Street Journal article, click here

To read more coverage from Ag Issues Forum and Commodity Classic, click below:

USDA Secretary Vilsack on Implementing Farm Bill

Managing Your Farm Through Weed Resistance?

Brazil's Crop - Should We Ration More Demand?

Water Supply Is Major Factor in Cropping Decision

And a big Congratulations to Jeff Hartz, Wyffels Hybrids Marketing Director, for being named the National Agri-Marketing Association 2014 Marketer of the Year.

Have a great week!

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Soy Checkoff Harnesses Industry to Combat Herbicide-Resistant Weeds
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Recovery Fund for Flooded Farmers
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