Big Data for bigger and better Crop Production
To meet the demand of growing population it is estimated that the food production should increase by 60% according to Food and Agriculture Organization United Kingdom. Changes need to be implied in not just the way of farming but also understanding farming.
Large and complex sets of data which needs to be analyzed through applications is called Big Data. It is believed that 90% of the world’s data came into existence in the past 2 years. The principle behind big data is that more and better information enhances competitiveness and better decision making.
Big data can help farmers decide which crops to plant where and when.
Consider the example of farm equipment that can take soil samples in real time, directly perform the relevant analysis and feed the results to a large database stored in the cloud. Combined with weather predictions, these results can be used to make precise adjustments to nitrogen applications.
If more farmers contribute to more production data about crops it will help them better understand which crop to plant, when to sell, available pesticides, weather conditions etc. In every supply chain food is wasted till the point of consumption. Let us assume this wastage to be around 30%. If we aim at getting this number down even by a smaller value, we can improve the quality in food supply chains.
In 2013 a social media study was performed and with the help of Big Data the food inflation prices could easily by estimated which is nearly impossible with traditional ways of data collection.
Big Data Farming is also known as Precision Farming and is believed to play an important role in the near future helping farmers to produce more supply of food. Farmers can get easy access to data with the help of mobile phones. They would have automated irrigation, real-time optimization of farming machinery, monitor gain prices in the market etc. United States already operate cloud-based farming information systems that use weather measurements and soil observations to predict weather for the next seven days.
So where does Big Data step in? Big Data not only optimizes and track harvests but it also has the potential to increase the yield production. Farmers can easily predict the real time cost of grains in the local markets around them and automatically compute the transportation costs. Precision farming has already been started in USA and is gaining is foothold in other countries.