Precision agriculture: Big data raises trust concerns

5 April

A US expert on precision agriculture is helping Victorian farmers nut out how to get the most out of shared data

Trust barrier: Terry Griffin, from the Department of Agricultural Economics in Kansas, says the key to precision agriculture is in sharing data — but many may be reluctant. Picture: Dale Webster

Terry Griffin, of the Department of Agricultural Economics in Kansas, says combining information in “data communities” is where the future lies and that growers should stop staring at yield maps because until analysis is automated, they are of little value.

“Moving data from the header to the computer is tedious and complicated — and data doesn’t always equal the truth,” he said

“A lot of decisions made in the past have been made by staring at a yield map but that can lead to some wrong decisions under certain conditions.

“If we can replace the human capital needed to do that with autonomous decision-making tools then adoption rates (of precision technology) will increase dram­atically.”

Dr Griffin said data that was being generated by individuals was valuable for testing new products, varieties or even practices in on-farm experiments, but the next step was to increase the worth of those learnings by turning it into what he called “big data” that could be shared to make regional or even wider decisions.

“One of the definitions of big data is when the value of the secondary use is greater than the primary uses,” he said.

“We are not there yet.

“Trust and reluctance to share has been a barrier.

“I don’t want to tell farmers to trust everybody because not everybody should be trusted — we should proceed cautiously — but we need to closely evaluate farm data opportunities.

“Farmers are in a position now that they have some ability to design how this will end and they need to be proactive about it.”

Dr Griffin has been in Australia on a Veski Sustainable Agriculture Fellowship and is working with the Birchip Cropping Group.

Source: The Weekly Times
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/agribusiness/cropping/precision-agriculture-big-data-raises-trust-concerns/news-story/2989bf6ba6089c0e0d70eaa440f40f83

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