Global machinery giant John Deere says now that digital agriculture has moved into mainstream Australian agriculture, it's time for local farmers to get smarter about using their data..
John Deere Australia's precision agriculture manager Benji Blevin said data collection can be overwhelming so farmers should not "collect data for data's sake".
"Instead, ask yourself: What do I want to get out of collecting this information? What do I need to put in place to get those results?" he said.
"Once you've identified your goals, take a structured approach to digital agriculture so it is possible to measure and strive for improvement."
Mr Blevin said just as farmers would not take a machine into the field without it being set up correctly, the same applied to properly setting up their "digital ecosystems".
"It is important to take the time to set up your digital assets so you are collecting the right information for your needs," Mr Blevin said.
"Setting up boundaries, guidance lines, chemicals, varieties and any other key inputs before heading into the paddock will save time and enable more accurate collection of data which in turn means it's usable and actionable."
He said once data collection has been robustly set up, this process can be automated so that information was consistently gathered and ready for analysis.
"With automation, you remove and simplify the touch points required to collect and transfer data from the machine (in Deere's case, to its Operations Center)," Mr Blevin said.
"Your data is updated to the Cloud every 30 seconds while you focus on the work in the paddock.
"Now that you know what you want to achieve and have the right digital setup, which is automatically collected and synced to your account, the next step is understanding that data, using it to drive decisions and applying these on-farm to achieve efficiency and profitability gains.
"If you can identify that a field has 20 per cent yield variability, you know that there's money to be made there, and you can focus on it," Mr Blevin said.
"Another way to extract even more value is to bring in a specialised skill set, such as your agronomist, farm advisor, or financial advisor, and allow them to access and analyse information such as crop records to make strategic recommendations.
"This can further support growers in taking full advantage of the decision-making opportunities of digital agriculture."
Mr Blevin said John Deere had also addressed a key concern raised in the early days of digital agriculture - the security and control of data.
"John Deere has invested in robust data systems with cyber-security protocols, underpinned by data privacy policies about how we collect and use data in our user agreements.
"To us, it is critical customers control their own data and make the decisions about who can access it."
The story Why farmers should love their data says John Deere first appeared on Farm Online.