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Data Processing and Data Insights in Agriculture

Apr 8, 2020 | Data, Tech Evaluation

Data Intelligence in Agriculture

Agriculture Needs Greater Investment In Data Processing and Data Insights

The development of GPS guidance systems in the 1990’s lead to a way of innovations on machine operations, including agriculture. However, innovations in data capture and data intelligence has progressed a long way since that time and to a large extent agriculture has been left behind.

Innovations in digital computing or data processing equipment or methods that support new specific functions has grown rapidly since 2000. In addition, there has been significant growth of innovations in data recognition and presentation of data. On average there have been over 14,500 patent applications made per year, in every year since 2000 in the areas of digital computing or data recognition and processing. There are now more that 446,000 parent patents in these areas of science. (based on patent data for IPC G06F17 and G06K9). The key companies making such innovations include IBM, Microsoft, Google, Samsung and Hitachi.

Leading Data Innovators

No Agricultural Company Ranks in the Top 100 Developers

Despite this vast growth in digital computing, only 1,520 related innovations are reported to have been developed for application across agriculture. That represents less than 0.3% of all innovations in digital computing, data recognition or data processing.   

Time to catch up?

However, while agriculture companies have been slow to develop innovation in data processing, an assessment of innovations over the last 5 years shows that data capture and processing systems are emerging the future battle ground for innovation development in Agriculture.  This includes data mining and analysis that help generate crop performance recommendations or act as prescriptive management tools

Data management within Precision Agriculture developing as the battleground in patent protection

The heat map shown below highlights key areas of innovation developed in precision agriculture and data collection and processing. The new data management systems will generate information on crop and field characteristics, which will be used to develop final performance and crop management recommendations. More than simple business methods, outcomes developed from such system will, via wireless connection (4G and 5G), drive future tractors, implements and robotic platforms. 

Precision Agriculture Innovation Heat Map

Heat map of the key innovation developed in precision agriculture and data management © IP Active.

Some specific examples of recent data management patents

The Climate Corporation – Bayer Cropscience

The Climate Corporation is a company advocating the power of data management within modern farming systems. Its integrated Climate FieldView™ digital agriculture platforms aim to deliver farmers with seamless field data collection, advanced agronomic modelling and local weather monitoring. The platforms integrate large amounts of data into maps and decision tools that can help drive effective farm management. The core basis in operating such system is access to farm data. Climate Corporation has developed agreements with John Deere to provide access to their farm datasets.

Since 2012 Climate Corporation has developed a number of patents covering methods for data collection and management within agricultural systems. A number of the company’s patent focus on methods for recommending agricultural activities based on the processing of both real-time and historical data.

The aim of such systems is to develop a prescription for future agricultural activities. Access to field, crop and weather data will be essential. Such systems may use data from different sources to develop solutions and communicate outcomes to machines or smart phones.

The advances being made in digital computing are reliant on one thing – DATA. Without the capture and access to raw data advances and improvements in data intelligence and land, crop and farm productivity can not be made. As reported in an interview by Agrow with the Climate Corporation executives in October of 2019, :

Data is the new currency in digital agriculture”

Over the next 5 years it is hoped that agriculture can begin the build partnerships with leaders in data management and insights so that growers can take full advantage of such innovations.  

Article written by Dallas Gibb Managing Director IP Active