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Big data comes to the farm

15 January 2016

In the 21st century, our lives are incredibly dependent on digital technology, and discovering how to best adapt new innovations to our businesses is a crucial element of staying profitable and competitive. As more of our lives move online, stored on distant servers and cloud computing systems, how that information is analysed and put to use is now very important.

It would be easy to assume that agricultural industries might be somewhat immune to the changes brought by big data, but a Canadian startup company is now looking to harness digital information to generate greater efficiency on farms.

It's called FarmersEdge, and in the coming months the company will add an Australian office to its network, which presently includes premises across western Canada, as well as in the US, Brazil and Russia.

What does FarmersEdge do?

Initially focusing on corn, soybeans, wheat and canola growers, the system is designed to automate the collection and reporting of costs, equipment data and other farm information, as well as providing secure hosting of that data. Having ready access to this information from essentially anywhere in the world, the company hopes to boost operational intelligence and lead to greater profitability for producers.

Speaking to The Land, FarmersEdge CEO Wade Barnes is confident that, while still in its early stages, the product will quickly be adopted by farmers.

"If you can get around issues such as price point and provide a product that works, you're going to see farmers adapt to it quickly," he said.

Research and innovation is a long-term focus for the Department of Agriculture, however implementing big data into your agribusiness isn't without its risks, which could have an impact on your farm or business insurance.

To ensure your agribusiness is well protected against interruption or cyberattacks, speak to your farm insurance agent today about any new technology, and how it might affect your policy.

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