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Big Data and the future of agriculture



A staggering one third of all produce that comes out of farms per year is wasted. And whilst the misconception is that this is down to consumers throwing it away, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Since farming began, it has been plagued with problems ranging from the wrong amount of fertiliser, to pests and adverse weather conditions. Big data, and careful analysis of it, could be the solution we need.

Sensors in the field can alert the farmers as to when the opportune moment to harvest is, tell them if more or less fertiliser is required. Drones can be used to keep track of pest populations, as well as any other potential problems. Using agricultural data can allow farmers to streamline their business plan, and invest in the plants which are best in terms of profitability and sustainability.

And it isn’t only the farmers who benefit. Household sensors can warn consumers when food hygiene standards are slipping, and when the food has gone off. This will hopefully lower the 8 million working days that are lost to food poisoning every year.

It is vital that both producers and consumers understand how this data is collected and how it is used. Sectors are getting smarter and more interconnected all the time, and it is only natural that our analysis and collection methods must adapt to survive. This is a burden all industries must bear, but the reward will be worth it in the end.

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