Agtech: The Success of Farming is in the Cloud

By Matanat Rashid

Wed, 12 Sep 2018

Over the past few years, agricultural corporations have been harnessing the supremacy of the cloud to create solutions. Cloud computing has been a dominant force in every sector. In farming, Cloud computing can be used in aggregating data from tools like soil sensors, satellite images and weather stations. Such technology benefits the farmers by providing them with a little more control over the forces of nature such as unpredictable seasons, climate patterns and precipitation levels. Farmers are using big data analytics for productivity, traceability and transparency. Integration of cloud computing would enable them to keep a track of all this data on a single platform. Cloud provides enough storage, speed, and computing power to analyse the plethora of information in a manner convenient to farmers.

According to Brian Luck, “Timely processing of data allows producers to take action within a growing season and correct problems before they become detrimental to yield.” Cloud-based software is capable of tracking and monitoring the performance of farm vehicles for an instant, and modified troubleshooting. Farmers Business Network, a California based start-up, explored Amazon Web Services and managed to develop a system that benchmarks participating farmers’ yields against others. The system further enables the farmers to understand market prices for seeds and chemicals, giving farmers more buying power.

Farmers across the US have already been grasping the advantage of the Cloud. Land O’Lakes, famous for their dairy products in Minnesota, are using Google’ Cloud platform as it links well with the Google Maps. All cloud-based solutions are capable of providing decision support and automation. Farmers can increase the efficiency and productivity of farms through these solutions. There are still some issues circling around the utilisation of cloud computing in the agriculture sector. Mainly, the cloud solutions offered by renowned corporations do not come cheap and hence small-scale farmers are both reluctant and unable to invest in them. Furthermore, rural farms face the issue of the slow internet while some remote farms do not have the internet services at all. Cloud computing is entirely reliant on the internet, and therefore their application in these areas become impossible.

Chandra Krintz, a well-known computer-science professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara stated, “This slow round-trip time to and from the cloud can delay decision making which may hurt the farmers.” Additionally, farmers have also raised concerns over the data privacy and security regarding the cloud. As per Solon Barocas, “Cloud computing requires detailed information about farm conditions and operations to travel to external parties, including the cloud provider and third parties that help analyse the data,” Modern Farmer conducted a survey where more than a hundred farmers echoed their reservations on the cloud due to their data privacy and security concerns.

Agtech and cloud computing experts in collaboration are seeking solutions to address the issues. For example, Chandra Krintz has developed SmartFarm, an open-source, low-cost, end-to-end decision support and automation system for farm processes. The system uses sensors to monitor the developments. All this data is processed into the cloud and farmers can monitor it on their smartphone through an app. The SmartFarm provides all of the same analytics and functionality that solutions similar to the cloud, but the data never gets leaked outside of the farm. This app ensures that the data privacy and security remain intact.

Agriculture technology is no longer a niche that no one’s heard about. Same goes for the role of cloud in agriculture. Farmers, stakeholders, and consumers are aware of how this technology would transform the future of agriculture. It will ensure food security level, improve the market price of food, seeds, other products, and enhance the GDP. Importantly, the integration of cloud computing would let oldest industry in the world to go to catch up with the world’s other industries, and that’s precisely what the agricultural sector aims for.


Challenge Advisory has designed an exclusive 2- day agricultural workshop, AG 4.0, whose main mission is to help farmers better engage with the latest technology available in the market and present a wide range of solutions for the modern farmer.

To address these challenges we are bringing key stakeholders from throughout US agriculture together to tackle the most issues in relation to the stability of the market. To find out how this will be achieved, and whether you can be involved in this, follow the link here and below:

www.challenge.org/ag40


ABOUT AG 4.0

Challenge Advisory is bringing together AG 4.0, a unique workshop where organisations will have the ability to network amongst each other for precise and profitable resolutions across the entire industry. There will be +40 speakers, 20 workshops, and networking sessions designed to create partnerships and profitable business development, helping to find cross-specialism solutions to current sectoral challenges.

Join Challenge Advisory and all our stakeholders for education, interoperability and investment relating to the latest technology in digital agriculture – click here to find out more:

www.challenge.org/ag40


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Matanat Rashid

matanat59@gmail.com

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