Date: Wed Jul 18, 2018
Time: 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Moderator: John Fulton
Profitable implementation of on-farm technologies varies by field, cropping system, and available investment opportunities. To greater understand the barriers to on-farm digital technology adoption, a data collection world record was attempted for a single corn plant. This project was conducted to quantify and assess the methods and magnitude of data that can be collected using commercially available technologies; a total of 18.5 Gb of data was collected from 2,476 individual files. These files were then categorized and ranked according to ease of adoption, added value, amount of generated data, and various other categories. Key data layers for the 2017 growing season were found to be as-planted, yield, imagery, seeding prescriptions, and weather data. This project served as a means to encourage adoption of these technologies and a determination of the many ways that data can be collected, analyzed, and acted upon in the current state of digital agriculture.
Now that we have made an attempt at a World Record for corn data collection, we highlight the layers that provide the most value and how they are managed. Soil sampling and management zones provide a platform for potential ROI. Imagery can provide multiyear contributions to the toolbox, and current growing season insight. As applied data provides confidence to get through the growing season challenges.
While it may not feel like it sometimes, we are getting better at collecting field level data. Organizing and analyzing the data is still a challenge, but we’ve made significant progress. Faster internet (at least some places), cloud data storage, and cloud based software have significantly improved our ability to share and process data. It’s not perfect, hardly, but compared to only three years ago, things are getting better.
Data is an addiction. We’ve gone from kilobytes, to megabytes, to gigabytes, to terabytes, and still we need more data! Try working with high resolution drone imagery and you’ll quickly realize a 2 terabyte hard drive is not that big. Crop consultants live in the world of “must be practical”. Our job is to find practical solutions by capturing the right data at the most effective level of resolution. Knowing what data to collect and at what resolution is in large part what a good precision ag practitioner does.
Boundary layers, yield data and soil test data will always be some of the critical base layers of data that are needed. But at what resolution? Does a boundary layer boundary need to be RTK accurate? What is the correct soil test density, 2.5 ac, ½ ac., zone, Hyperspectral? Is yield data based on 45 ft. wide header granular enough? Do we need row by row yield data or yield maps enhanced with high resolution drone imagery?. As we learn how to process and store data faster, easier, and cheaper we will absolutely demand more data.
What does the future hold? IoT, high resolution imagery, and autonomy all will be great data collection tools. Most if not all these types data collection tools will have multiple channels/sensors collecting data. What kinds of useful things can we harvest from all this data? How will we manage, store and process all this data? Can we process raw data once and then use the processed information over and over again? A lot of these questions cannot be completely answered yet today, but for sure, more data is headed our way.