At last, agriculture and the broader food chain can start to benefit from the huge quantity of data it generates with the adaption of technology that has been at the forefront of global security requirements.
There continues to be much discussion within the industry on the benefits of harnessing data and how this can be used to deliver better real-time management decisions, whilst ensuring better information to underpin longer-term decision-making.
Huge quantities of data are being generated, but the challenge has consistently been how this can be translated into meaningful decisions that begin to make a step change in fulfilling the genetic potential of animals and crops.
David Wilson, CEO of Proagrica, the leader in providing decision support to the global agriculture industry, explains, “we have entered a period in farming where data capture and interpretation is essential for successful farm businesses. The technology and software is now available to connect and interpret data, bringing visibility to all and enabling the intelligence required for more productive and profitable decision-making.”
Originally driven by advances in global security requirements, companies are now adapting the technology developed to deliver solutions for commercial industries. Food production has been identified as a key beneficiary of this technology due to its complex interactions both in the production process itself and the infrastructure that delivers inputs, and supplies the end product to consumers.
Proagrica has been at the forefront of this advance and has developed an approach that provides a uniquely open and neutral platform for this technology to be adopted by the food industry, says the company.
“We have seen the same technology prove itself in other sectors and I’m excited to be able to see how the agricultural sector can benefit”, continues Mr Wilson. “We are literally just scratching the surface and I see the technology, under our Agility brand, providing huge opportunities for businesses to increase productivity, whilst creating the insight to allow whole supply chains to improve radically.”
Proagrica has currently launched Agility Crops focused on the arable sector. Providing real-time insight into input usage, its timing and resulting impact on productivity, Agility Crops covers over 800,000ha of cropping across the UK. For the first time, in-season analytics is available, providing the opportunity for real-time solutions, rather than waiting for full-scale surveys to provide a retrospective view, which can only be used historically.
“The platform has the capability of harnessing information from many different sources”, comments Mr Wilson. “At present, it relies on Farm Management Software but we are working on connecting with many other sources such as weather stations, machinery, disease predictors which in time will combine to create enormously beneficial intelligence systems enabling farmers, their advisors and those across the supply chain to increase productivity and resilience within their businesses”.
“In this new era, that we have termed ‘Evidence-Based Production,’ concludes Mr Wilson, “we feel that we are in a unique position to provide an independent solution, creating opportunity for all farmers, suppliers and processors to increase efficiency and productivity to meet the undoubted challenges we face.”