There’s a data revolution taking place on farms across the globe. This much is clear. But what does the information era actually look like ‘in the field’? How are farmers collecting, storing and actually using all that data?
The future of agriculture is as much data-driven as it is tractor-driven. And stepping into this space are creative new companies harnessing the information overload. They’re making data not only useful, but profitable for farmers and others all along the food value chain.
The applications for improving on-farm efficiency and sustainability seem boundless, with agtech companies taking on everything from soil health to milk quality, food waste to biodiversity. Where the Internet of Things meets agribusiness, these five start-ups are busy collecting, handling, processing or managing data for – and with – the people who grow our food.
Farmers’ freshest crop? Data.
Jason Tatge, Co-founder and CEO of Farmobile wants farmers to profit from data they can passively collect in the field each day. “We believe we can create a marketplace for data,” he says. “If a buyer comes to the platform, they’re able to make an offer to that farmer to purchase a licensed copy of that data, similar to the way a musician would sell music on iTunes.”
The Alexa of agriculture
“The procedures people currently use for recording data are cumbersome,” says AgVoice CEO Bruce Rasa. The Atlanta-based company’s voice-activated technology enables farmers to capture crucial data around the farm – with ease. Their software registers information and stores it automatically, leaving farmers’ hands free to do their work.
Better data, better yields
“The reason we can’t manage our food supply properly is because we don’t know what’s going on,” says Arable Labs CEO and Founder Adam Wolf. The Arable Mark is a data-gathering device resembling a small frisbee. Posted over a field of crops, it allows the farmer to monitor more than forty different data streams, optimizing crop management and reducing food waste.
Precision milk sensors lead the whey to the future
“When we added machine learning and artificial intelligence, we found we could measure even more compounds than originally envisaged,” says CEO Bethany Deshpande describing the evolution of SomaDetect. Combining data, deep learning and light scattering detection technology, the company monitors dairy herd health and milk quality more accurately and time critically than ever before.
Unearthing dirt’s dirty little secrets
Soil health is a farm’s greatest asset. But there’s a lot more farmers can learn about what’s in the earth. “Our technology is analyzing information below the surface and in the soil,” says Adrián Ferrero, Co-founder and CEO of Biome Makers. With data about what’s in the soil, farmers can make smarter choices about how to enhance and protect this essential resource.
These stories were originally published as part of our Growing Ideas series, in which we take a look at the future of food and agriculture and offer a platform to innovative companies in these sectors.