It’s not lost on most that technology has become a driving force in agriculture. However, there are so many options out there now, and so many different things you can do with the data, that it can become overwhelming.
Much of our equipment is now chock-full of data gathering technology, which is fantastic; but how much of that data do we actually use?
Marty Seymour of Farm Credit Canada (FCC), says that it is estimated that only 50 per cent of farm data across Canada is currently digitized. Besides the struggle of rural broadband connectivity, this is in part due to many farmers not actually using the data that is collected, as it can become very complex at a rapid rate.
“What we really need to drive towards in 2021 is simplifying. There’s too many platforms, and so much choice. It makes the data integration harder,” explains Seymour. “So if I think about what’s getting in the way of Canadian agriculture is one, we need to digitize, and we need to be able to share and integrate data so we can make decisions.”
Many of us have sat on the combine in the fall, and have thought about all the data that is collected throughout the year, but then the thought stops, and we don’t necessarily use all that data to increase our profitability in the following year. This isn’t the case with all, but as Seymour notes, even he has fallen into this trap.
“If I don’t analyze it, or if someone could help me use that information to make a decision, then you have something,” he says. “If I digitize, but I don’t do anything with it, then I lose interest in digitizing. It’s just one more task at the end of the day. So to me — it’s what is the outcome I’m after. If I’m going to invest the time to digitize and upload my data from my tractor or combine, the only way to really get my commitment to digitize is to see there are solutions coming out of that data analytics. That’s where the opportunity lies.”