Bytes for Bites: Big Data in Agriculture


When we’re scanning the grocery aisles or cooking our meals, we don’t often think about how our food is painstakingly grown. It’s not that simple. In fact, farmers make around 40-50 crucial decisions each growing season. Will typhoons strike? Will it be a long, dry season? How do I protect my crops from diseases and insects? All these big farming decisions involve huge risks that allow them to harvest heartier and tastier food. 

With the population booming and our planet warming, they do not have it easy. Especially in a country where climate disasters like typhoons and flooding are the new normal, farmers need to adapt to these constantly changing weather patterns and make the most of their land and water resources.

Big data for big decisions 
But here’s the good news: just as our technology advances, our farming practices do too. Through constant research, our crops are now more resistant against diseases and insects, and the tools we use to grow them are automated and more accurate than ever. As a sustainable agricultural company, Monsanto is always exploring different services and solutions to nourish our growing world. One such solution is big data.

Big data allows us to harness information in novel ways to produce insights that better the way we do things. Whether it’s in healthcare, politics, or retail, data science is being used to drive business and create quality customer experiences. By applying it to agriculture, big data helps farmers make the big decisions to grow more all the while using less resources.

It all begins and ends with a farmer’s field. Equipped with the right tools - satellites, radars, plant sensors, and local weather stations - we analyze all the interactions happening on that field. Things like soil health, rainfall, plant health, temperatures, etc. are measured and monitored in real time and in more precise ways. This data gets translated and transferred to web-based technology and mobile apps that our farmers have easy and instant access to.

By harnessing these digital technologies, we are able to put valuable information into the hands of our farmers to help them be more productive on each hectare of their land. Just like how we can check the weather on our handheld devices, farmers can use smartphones and tablets to make critical decisions such as when to plant, which seeds to use on different parts of the field, or how much fertilizer to apply. Understanding the unique challenges and conditions of their field allows farmers to make the most out of every harvest.

Big data allows farmers to make better-informed big decisions that help them grow more while making our resources go further, making a balanced meal accessible to everyone.

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