Data management biggest challenge in precision farming
“Both statewide and nationwide, farmers are trying to get bigger in order to cover input costs,” says Brandon Dillard, an Alabama Extension regional agent in southeast Alabama.
“This technology provides them with the ability to get bigger without a lot more people and equipment.”
Despite the promise this seamless approach offers, Fulton says cultivating this mindset is proving a challenge for some farmers who have always valued their autonomy.
Data generation and management are the bread and butter in the future of crop production, and under some licensing agreements, farmers are using this technology in exchange for allowing equipment companies open access to the farm data collected on ag machinery.
“That’s a hurdle for many producers,” Fulton says. “They don’t like the idea of turning over all their data to a company.
“There’s always been a strong tradition of freedom of choice in farming. They’re not only worried about how all this data will be used, but also how it will affect their control over their operations and their identities as producers.”
Even so, in this highly charged global farming economy, producers have no alternative, Mask says.
He cites Brazil and other emerging agricultural powerhouses as the reason why precision farming adoption on a wide scale will be inevitable.
“Unless we learn to use every input in the most efficient way possible, we will no longer be equipped to provide products at the least cost. It’s really that simple.”