RESEARCH COLLABORATIONS

Big data for big farms with UAEX and Ag-Analytics partnership

SOURCE: Brent Stirton/Getty Images/AFP
Data analytics can provide farmers with more information to generate higher yields from their crops.


By U2B Staff 

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The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is partnering with farm management platform Ag-Analytics to collect, analyse and disseminate agriculture data to improve the agriculture industry and help farmers improve their yields. 

Through the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, this partnership with Ag-Analytics will collect and analyse large volumes of agricultural data that will eventually result in the creation of better decision-making tools for farmers. 

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Ag-Analytics, which specialises in the analysis of precision agriculture data, will collect this data and condense it into a simpler format that can easily inform farmers of how to better utilise their crops and tools as well as helping agricultural researchers make decisions. 

“The partnership with Ag-Analytics will allow us to receive precision ag data that we didn’t have access to prior,” said University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture extension digital and information technology innovation manager Karen Watts DiCicco. 

 “That’s where our partnership with Ag-Analytics comes in,” added the Division of Agriculture extension application technologist Jason Davis. 

“With producers’ permission, Ag-Analytics will facilitate data collection from equipment located across the state and provide it to our researchers in usable formats.”

Davis also added that the partnership will entail the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to create improved decision tools for the use of producers, farmers, researches and the overall agriculture industry in Arkansas. 

“Our society has changed from an industrial society to one of digital technology and one that is data-driven,” he said. 

“In agriculture, we’ve seen a similar shift from the industrial model to precision agriculture. The industry is moving forward with more and more incorporation of big data and artificial intelligence. It’s important for that to be part of our future.”

agriculture industry
Famers can contribute their own data to help fuel research initiatives. Source: Daniel Roland/AFP.

Now Arkansas growers and producers across the county can participate in the data analysis as well. 

By signing up here, individual farms can contribute their own data to a large-scale database including hundreds of terabytes of satellite, soil, weather, and other data. 

Despite the large-scale database, data security measures have been taken to ensure personal data remains confidential and personally identifiable information will be omitted from the data sets. 

Farmers can input their own data for free and by doing so they will also have access to Ag-Analytics resources which include historical and current weather conditions, satellite imagery and data, and insurance estimates. 

“Our partnership will lead to innovations that allow farmers to utilize artificial intelligence in digital agriculture applications by leveraging their university extension service with the Ag-Analytics platform,” said CEO and founder of Ag-Analytics Joshua Woodard. 

“It’s a win-win-win for us, growers, and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.”

One of the partnership’s primary efforts involves high-resolution yield modelling for Arkansas cropping systems. This research initiative will look into variety performance, climate and crop interactions, and nutrient response management and decision tools development. 

The resulting data from this partnership will be able to fuel future research in the agriculture industry and Ag-Analytics will build upon this research to develop modelling tools that producers can use to project their yield based on different variables. 

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Davis added that now is an exciting time for the agricultural sector in Arkansas thanks to this partnership which brings new access to agricultural data and tools. 

This partnership is being partially funded by a US$5,000 grant from Microsoft Azure for could-based services.