Data, data, data. I wonder how many times that word was used at this week’s G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture? A lot I’m sure. Well, I was not there but Paul Welbig, Raven Industries was.
Here’s a photo of Paul on the left with Dr. Aboubacar Diaby, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. They are holding an African corn planter.
The conference concluded after participating countries created some action plans for what to do next. You can find those on the website and even more information. A focus of the efforts being made to make more agricultural data sets available to the world wide community is to create resources that will help people in developing countries and where there is a real need for advanced food production. So you might like an example of how this has already been done in other areas. Paul shares a couple of examples that were given at the conference like GPS which exists because of data shared and now used in so many beneficial ways which includes precision agriculture.
The G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture is coming to an end. Interestingly, USDA held a concluding press conference to discuss results prior to the end of the conference. USDA Chief Scientist Dr. Catherine Woteki outlined the federal government’s new Food, Agriculture and Rural data community, which offers a catalog of over 300 data sets as well as numerous apps, tools and statistical products. The community can be found on www.data.gov. Its creation was announced at the start of the conference by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
We are hoping to interview a participant in the conference to learn more about what they took away and will post that here as soon as we are able to do so.
“This new online community is a big step toward opening information for agriculture, making it public in useable formats,” said Vilsack. “This will increase the value of the investments U.S. taxpayers make in agricultural research, it will create a data ecosystem that will fuel economic growth, it will help drive that innovation to meet our global food challenge we all face.”
Vilsack explained that the virtual community for Food, Agriculture and Rural issue is located on the pre-existing data-sharing web site – www.data.gov – and it will now include data sets on topics such as agricultural research, or food and nutrition. Other G8 countries represented at the conference are also expected to make their ag data similarly available.
“Our hope is that the example that we set will encourage the nations that have been not as forthcoming to recognize it is in their best interest … to be part of this process,” Vilsack said.
While some countries like China are reluctant to share their data, World Bank Vice President Dr. Rachel Kyte noted that others suffer from data deficiencies. “Serious weaknesses in agricultural statistics persist,” said Kyte. “Only one in four African countries report basic crop production data.”
Vilsack pointed out that data “is among the most important commodities in agriculture” and sharing it openly increases its value. The Open Data Conference will continue through Tuesday, April 30.
USDA just held a preview press conference for next week’s G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture. On the phone with the press were USDA Chief Scientist Dr. Catherine Woteki and Dr. Simon Liu, Director of the National Agricultural Library. There are plans to do live streaming during the conference and people are encouraged to tweet about the conference with the hashtag, #OpenAgData. The conference, to be held in Washington, D.C., will bring together innovators from all over the world to discuss the importance of open agricultural data to increased food security across the globe, as well as in opening doors for public/private partnerships and economic growth. Woteki and Liu will explain that data is among the most important commodities in the world. By making our data accessible and encouraging others to do the same, we will enable collaborations of data users that will spur innovation and drive economic growth. A number of African countries will be represented at the conference and Woteki and Liu will preview some of the announcements expected to be made during the event.
Paul Mask, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System assistant director for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources and an Auburn University professor of agronomy and soils, says the promise of precision farming is using technology to gain a clear and comprehensive picture of one’s farming operations to secure the highest measure of farm efficiency and profitability by reducing input usage, insulating against risk and enhancing sustainable farming practices.
“That’s always been the challenge,” Mask says. “To me, it’s never been about adopting individual pieces of technology — rather, it’s about how the adoption of this technology leads to a change in mindset.”
John Fulton, an Alabama Extension precision farming specialist and Auburn University associate professor of biosystems engineering who filled Mask’s shoes a decade ago after he assumed his current administrative position, sees the next challenge as helping producers become firmly anchored to this guiding principle.
“In the last decade we’ve made strides showing farmers how to use precision farming technologies to avoid over-application and increase efficiency,” Fulton says.
The next big challenge is helping producers acquire a comprehensive understanding of this technology and its wider uses.
Innovators and private sector partners are being urged to participate in the G-8 Open Data for Agriculture meeting coming up later this month in Washington DC to help “facilitate the transfer of scientific research and information in a broad range of areas from best agricultural practices, to research, biotechnology, irrigation, extension services and applied technology.”
The goal of the conference on April 29-30 is to “Obtain commitment and action from nations and relevant stakeholders to promote policies and invest in projects that open access to publicly funded global agriculturally relevant data streams, making such data readily accessible to users in Africa and world-wide, and ultimately supporting a sustainable increase in food security in developed and developing countries.”
In a column for Agri-Pulse, Friends of the World Food Program founder Marshall Matz noted that precision agriculture technology “can increase productivity including the productivity of smallholder farmers. Wireless technology, with GPS, may be one of the few areas where Africa is ahead of the United States.”
Matz believes that this meeting, which grew out of last year’s G-8 Summit commitment to a new Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, can have a major impact on global food security. “Africa is the key to global food security and Open Data for Agriculture can make the difference,” he said.
Find out more here.
The university’s successful web based program, launched in Indiana in 2008, has been effective in allowing both farmers and applicators to identify, map and communicate where high-value pesticide-sensitive crops are being grown as part of ongoing stewardship activities. Driftwatch has quickly caught the attention of other state departments of agriculture and has currently been adopted by nine states, primarily in the Midwest, plus Colorado and Montana.
With DriftWatch, producers of high-value specialty crops, such as tomatoes, fruit trees, grapes and vegetables, register their sites on-line and provide contact information about their operation. Likewise, pesticide applicators utilize the site to help determine the scope and location of specialty crops in their trade areas. DriftWatch provides the platform to facilitate better awareness, communication and interaction between all parties as one part of ongoing stewardship activities.
“Machine & Agronomic Data Management: Maximizing Your Productivity” is the title of a Commodity Classic WIN session sponsored by John Deere. One of the presenters was Kathy Michael, Senior Product Manager, John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group.
The way that John Deere is helping farmers maximize their machine and agronomic data is with JD Link, their telematic platform, which is based on wireless communications available on mobile devices as well as table top computers. “Our goal is to make it easier for our customers to collect the data in the field, to see their machines in the field, to see their operators in the field and bring it in to one spot.” Kathy says feedback from customers includes “the more we know about what’s going on, the less phone calls, the less CB radio connections and running out to the field that they need to do.”
There’s a lot of information out there. So much, in fact, that some producers can find themselves drowning in a sea of data as they go from machine to machine trying to collect and manage it all. That’s where our friends from Trimble come in. During the recent National Farm Machinery Show, Trimble’s Mike Martinez talked about their Connected Farm system that allows easier and more seamless data gathering.
“Everything that’s out on the farm today that’s precision farming is collecting data. It’s always been a challenge what to do with that data, how to get it to the place it’s most productive. So Connected Farm grabs the data without much user intervention and wirelessly collecting that in one centralized location so that the farm manager, the farm operator can then make intelligent business decisions based on that data,” Mike said.
Not only does Connected Farm give you vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity in the field, but it also lets people back in the office tap into the technology in the field to troubleshoot any problems within minutes. It also has productivity reporting to help decision-makers see what is and isn’t working, as well as what problems are being faced in the field.
For producers concerned about the security of their information, Mike said there are some extremely secure technologies out there that Trimble is using. “Multiple redundant servers, your data is not going to get lost or hacked into. We’re using global standards for data security, and we hold that very, very important.”
And since you need to make sure the information your gathering is valid, in the video below, you can also see Mike explain how Trimble’s Correction Services helps make sure the data you’re using is accurate:
The new FieldView™ Plus service from Precision Planting allows producers to sync data between multiple planters, combines, computers and additional iPads. In addition, it provides safe and secure file back-up.
According to Doug Sauder, Product Manager, “Using Amazon Web Services (AWS), we built the PrecisionCloud that connects all of your iPads, SeedSense displays and planters to the cloud. This makes it simple for users to sync their information across multiple iPads, to share it with their partners, to store it securely, and to see and understand its implications across their entire operation.”
FieldView Plus makes it easy to share coverage files between tractors. It transfers FieldScripts and allows fast downloads of 20/20 files to a desktop computer or to share with partners. FieldView Plus also automatically backs up the user’s 20/20 and FieldView data. FieldView Plus automatically syncs field pins, field map data and client farm field lists so that data is the same on every device.
At a networking breakfast this morning at AG CONNECT Expo, sponsored by CaseIH, Dr. Terry Griffin, VP – Applied Economics CrescoAG, spoke on the “Making the Most of Precision Ag: I have all this data. Now What?” It is a good example of the type of sessions you’ll find at throughout the show.
I recorded Terry’s remarks which include a lengthy Q&A session for you to listen to. He does talk about some slides which I do not have to share but I think you’ll find some of the ideas he presented very interesting. Some of those that I took note of include. GPS guidance profitable with short payback. 3rd party help in the total precision ag system is needed. Without it there is a gap that provides an opportunity for companies right now. He said that “Data from single farm has finite value to that farmer. Greatest value is pooled community analysis.” Terry also talked about the whole concept of sharing data into a system for the benefit of all farmers. There was some disagreement in the audience about how this could work and concerns for what would happen with their local data.
Have you wondered how to measure the return on decisions you make like the choice in tractor tires? How to keep track of how, when, where you did maintenance on your equipment? eMaint Enterprises has a solution. I learned about it in a conversation with Rona Palmer.
When it comes to farming, eMaint offers farmers a system to keep track of equipment maintenance and it can be scaled from a one user, one tractor operation to a very large fleet operation. The first thing I learned is what CMMS stands for (see below). Rona says the system is very user friendly and that you don’t need a degree in computer management to use their service. Service plans start at $40/month. The service is managed by web browser access which you can do from any internet connected computer or tablet or smartphone. Find out more about how eMaint can help you and your farming operation in my conversation with Rona.
eMaint Enterprises has been providing innovative CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Software) solutions since 1986. eMaint was one of the first CMMS providers to develop a completely web-based “Software as a Service” (SaaS) model for more rapid implementation at a lower total cost of ownership.
Our growing client-base consists of over 16,000 users worldwide across 1,000 sites ranging from small & medium sized organizations to Fortune 500 corporations including manufacturers, service providers, fleet operators, energy and utility companies, health care facilities, universities, municipalities, and facility and property managers, among others.
The tool, developed by the MU Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) and the MU Commercial Agriculture Program, lets farmers estimate how many days it will take to perform fieldwork. Farmers select one of nine crop regions in Missouri, enter the type, size and speed of farm implements being used, the number of acres being planted, and other variables to determine the number of hours needed to plant the crop.
The spreadsheet uses 30 years of historical data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Virtual Vista offers a simple solution which connects directly to the Leica mojo3D. Through the built-in modem of the Leica mojo3D farmers can access the service within a few steps; no additional hardware has to be purchased.
Initially Virtual Vista provides users with a convenient overview about activities in the field. It enables customers to monitor their fleet by combining real time and historical information with the use of Google Maps. Features such as geo fencing and curfews allow a new level of fleet management and can be easily activated with just a mouse click.
What sets Virtual Vista apart from other online farm services is its simplicity. Users don’t need to manage a complex menu structure to use the service. The intuitive design of the platform ensures an easy understanding for a best possible user experience.
HarvestMaster announces Mirus harvest data collection software as the latest addition to its research agriculture solutions offering. Mirus is an all-in-one software designed to collect and view harvest data in real time. The Mirus software is compatible with the industry leading HarvestMaster HM800 GrainGage systems.
Mirus features include large, easy-to-read screens, capable of showing multiple data screens simultaneously for more efficient operation. Step-by-step calibration wizards for all sensors ensure easy calibration of the GrainGage system. The intuitive user interface of Harvest Master’s Mirus software is tailored to combine operators, promising ease-of-use and simple adoption into harvest data collection processes.
Mirus software has become the new standard in harvest data collection by providing the following:
• Compatibility with Windows® laptops and tablets running Windows® XP, 7, or 8
• Ability to generate and import maps, and collect and export data
• Simultaneous views of four different harvest information screens
• Graphical and spatial display of data
• Ease of viewing diagnostic screens while in harvest mode
• Step-by-step wizards for weight, moisture, and test weight sensor calibration
• Combine operator rated observations
• Operator Quick-Notes on individual plots