How machine learning and sensors are helping farmers boost yields

How machine learning and sensors are helping farmers boost yields
How machine learning and sensors are helping farmers boost yields

Agriculture is always modernizing, but most farmers struggle to either collect data that’s useful —or know how to analyze it in useful ways. That’s changing: emerging data collection and analysis tools are helping boost yields and operate in more sustainable ways, according to Sam Eathington, chief science officer at the Climate Corporation.

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In the next five to ten years, “we’re going to see an explosion of sensors and collection of data from the farm,” Eathington said during his talk at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference today. 

Climate Corporation—originally founded in 2006 by a pair of former Google employees and now owned by German chemical giant Bayer—has developed tools to gather information from a variety of sources, including sensors on farming equipment as well as in the field. The data from these disparate sensors is then analyzed in the cloud.

The company is building increasingly sophisticated models that help farmers understand which crop hybrids will produce greater yields under certain weather and soil conditions, or what fertilizer levels will be optimal in a particular setting.

Other tools like drones, satellites and in-field cameras are also helping farmers to detect, and respond to, early signs of disease.

The firm’s software models are helping farmers produce eight additional bushels of crops per acre, which can add up to a huge financial difference in the often low-margin business of agriculture, Eathington says. Around 80 percent of the time, the company’s models outperform the recommendations of scientists who studies soil management and crop production, he added.

In addition to helping farmers make a living, these kind of tools could also become increasingly crucial for meeting global food demands as climate change creates increasingly volatile conditions.

 

 

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This article was written by cool news network.

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