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Data Experts say Data Will Drive Increased Production

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Ag Data is the future

Ron LeMayThe revved up technology revolution in agriculture was discussed at a Wednesday session of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting in Kansas City, and the panelists believe new data technologies are the key to feeding the growing world population. Ron LeMay is very familiar with data. He is the former Sprint CEO and founder and CEO of FarmLink.

“According to the information I got at the World Food Prize, the global total factor productivity gain in ag is 1.69%,” he said. “It needs to be 1.75% to feed the 9 billion people by 2050. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s a 6 percent gap at the end. I haven’t talked to anyone who thinks crop science is going to close that gap. That gap is going to get closed by better decision making at the farm, in my view, and that’s going to be based on a superior use of information, turning that information into tools that can be rapidly deployed for better decision making. We need both to close that gap.”

Dave RhylanderDave Rhylander from Climate Corporation agrees with LeMay’s emphasis on the importance of data. He said a great challenge ahead is educating farmers that sharing data is what will lead to improved yields.

“We’ve got a lot of great technologies developed the last 5-10 years, whether it’s from SST, FarmLink, John Deere, Precision. We’ve got to figure out how to bring this together because that’s going to unlock the future on helping feed the world and help maintain higher yields that will help farmers with their profitability.”

Matt WaitsMatt Waits, CEO at SST Technologies says his company is seeing a lot of grower interest but there is plenty of work for the industry to do.

“We continue to do a lot in local recommendations in terms of fertilizer and now in the seed side of it, but we’ve got to get growers comfortable that we’re all going to be good stewards of their data in order to get to the real value which is going to be these insights gained from aggregated data.”

He added on-farm decision making based on data will contribute enormously to increased yields and profitability in addition to improved stewardship of resources.