The idea that only organizations, businesses, or enterprises benefit from business intelligence is a common misconception. Blame it on human nature, but when you hear the terms business intelligence, big data, and analytics, most people only think of these types of industries. However, business intelligence has a powerful impact in other industries including the agricultural industry.
Agriculture businesses have the same goals as any other business or organization – increase revenue and reduce excess workloads. There are several other uses and needs for business intelligence in the agricultural industry. Let’s talk about some of these.
One of the most important aspects of managing an agricultural business is performing jobs at particular times and in an efficient manner. Data forecasting can identify exactly when the peak times are for successful production. An agricultural business that grows and harvests crops, animals or plants can benefit tremendously from forecasted data.
In the agricultural industry, big data is used to make better, smarter business decisions. Real-time data on soil and air quality, weather, crop maturity, and even labor and equipment availability and costs make a huge impact in the following ways:
- Optimizes the Crop Yield – Adverse weather is responsible for approximately 90% of crop losses. Local weather conditions are difficult to predict; however, with predictive analytics and using the right algorithms, farmers are warned on time when to harvest or plow due to upcoming or extreme weather conditions. Additionally, sensors on the ground, working together with a smart irrigation, enables farmers to optimize their crop productivity. A smart irrigation system knows the supplements required for each crop as well as when and how much the crop needs. This prevents the farmers from giving too little or too many supplements, thereby saving a lot of money on fertilizer while increasing the crop output.
- Pricing – Combining data with real-time market information, gives farmers the ability to mitigate price fluctuations better. The degrees of pricing variations on the market of crops can be tremendous. Speculating can increase the price of crops or bring it down. Predictive analytics enables the price of a certain crop at a certain location to be determined in advance. Thus, the farmer gets the right price for the right crop at the right moment and location.
- Machine Efficiency – Sensors in agricultural machines such as tractors, agricultural sprayers, harvesters, soil-cultivating equipment, and cow milking machines give farmers a lot of information in real-time. These sensors predict equipment failures and when maintenance is due which saves the farmer time and money.
The Benefits for Animals
Big data also benefits the animals in the agricultural industry. Sensors in sheds give information on the conditions of the animals and can weigh and adjust feeding if necessary. Chips in animals can also monitor their health conditions. Animals that may be sick or becoming sick can receive medication automatically in their food. In addition, detecting stress in animals allows for steps to be taken to ease them. The ability to track herds via smartphone and see where the animals are grazing benefits the farmers and animals. This is done using special collars with sensors. For farmers with massive plots of land, this is extremely beneficial.
The traditional agricultural industry has been completely transformed with the use of big data. In the highly-competitive agricultural world, a business intelligence solution is a must for farmers to succeed and reap enormous benefits.