Friday, 03 November 2023 10:55

Working through all the data

Written by  Staff Reporters

In agriculture, the emphasis for the last 150 years has been on using technology to know more about orchards, fields, and crops, which has been great, according to Watermetrics.

“We’ve uncovered inefficiencies, learned more about our land, and optimised inputs through tools like weather stations, soil moisture probes, sensors, satellites, flow meters, and more. But as often happens, yesterday’s solutions have created today’s problems.

“Technology has enabled us to deeply understand our land and crops in the modern farming landscape through numerous tools. We’ve accumulated a treasure trove of data to maximise our yields and optimise our resources.”

But, there’s a hitch – we are now navigating through a sea of data, often struggling to decipher it into actionable strategies, it says.

“Farmers in New Zealand are getting more and more data. Some of it’s expensive. Some providers are backward in sharing it.

“There are data gaps which can make a data stream unreliable. You can pay a lot for data that just doesn’t do the job accurately enough in important situations. Some data is confusing like a trigger point to irrigate and noticeably varying responses from an irrigation.

“Authorities want you to show that you are using data to manage water and nitrogen and be environmentally responsible and there can be variations around how- given the data interpretation.

“Dealing with data and transforming it into meaningful, actionable insights is actually quite difficult. Farmers are good at solving puzzles but they don’t have time to solve mysteries. Mysteries require improved analysis and interpretation of data for resolution. At the end of the day this is grasping the key indicators that affect plant health and yield. This leads to profit and we all want that.

“Historically, many agricultural companies have operated by amassing asymmetric information – having more knowledge than the next person.

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