There is a broad potential application for data based technologies in agriculture. The provision and analysis of information as simple as detailed weather tracking data or historic crop yields and prices, can help farmers better manage day to day operations and business planning. For many data based technologies, information being gathered now is collated and analysed to assist future practices on farm (and agriculture more generally) - the idea being that the benefits of such technologies will increase over time as more and more data is obtained.
We are seeing a lot of data based agritech innovations and projects at the moment, such as the Well-Calf initiative. The Well-Calf project is interesting, because it seeks to tackle disease-linked losses in dairy-beef by integrating data from all stages of an animal's life cycle. The project has won funding of £1 million.
So are data technologies the answer? They certainly have a part to play, and this growing trend suggests that the future of on farm productivity might be closely linked with data systems and platforms.
To tackle such losses, the project, Well-Calf, will develop the first system for integrating data from different stages of a dairy-beef animal's life through to slaughter, with an early-warning health detection system specifically designed for calves to detect diseases such as scour and pneumonia. The aim is that the cloud-based system, the first of its kind, will support decision making at various levels, from on-farm to wider farming policy and practice.