"Put Data to Work" and 2020 predictions for farmers

Growers in my home country of Canada and worldwide had more than their fair share of challenges in 2019.

Trade wars, labor shortages, and drastic weather really tested our patience and our commitment to farming. I’m hopeful there’s a bright future for farmers in 2020, and I believe these 4 trends will help make 2020 a bumper year for farmers worldwide.

1: Artificial Intelligence

Topping my list for 2020 is Artificial Intelligence. From site-specific predictive models that identify the exact stage of crops to farm machines making decisions on their own, we’ll see more growers gain confidence in using this technology on their farm.

If farmers have to interpret data to program farm equipment to act on it – can we really call it “smart” technology?

Right now, growers already have a lot of data they can use, but if they have to interpret that data to program farm equipment to act on it – can we really call it “smart” technology? In 2020, look for machines to work more autonomously and increasingly accurate predictive models to maximise application effectiveness and minimise the risk of damage.

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Growers who can mine data - and put that data to work - will have a better chance of success in 2020 and beyond - Photos: Peter Roek
Growers who can mine data - and put that data to work - will have a better chance of success in 2020 and beyond - Photos: Peter Roek

2: Weather woes

Predicting the weather in 2020 will rely more on site-specific data from on-farm weather stations, which can detect micro-changes in field conditions on a zone-by-zone basis. In 2020, farmers will rely less on local or regional weather stations and more on the weather data directly from their own fields.

3: Lending grows

Insuring crops will get easier and more widespread as lenders look to satellite imagery and field data to make lending decisions. And, new data-driven insurance products can help to transform emerging markets such as Brazil – which have little or no crop insurance today.

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Predicting the weather in 2020 will rely more on site-specific data from on-farm weather stations, which can detect micro-changes in field conditions on a zone-by-zone basis.
Predicting the weather in 2020 will rely more on site-specific data from on-farm weather stations, which can detect micro-changes in field conditions on a zone-by-zone basis.

4: Unexpected new players

In 2020, a technology company will emerge as “The Amazon of Agriculture,” who will build platforms using blockchain to address traceability. Growers, especially in North America, will see the rise of the new generation of consumers who want to be able to trace their food back to its source. In 2020 we’ll see more growers using data to increase their role in the value chain.

Make. Data. Work. That’s the mantra for 2020. Competing locally or globally, the growers who can mine data – and put that data to work – will have a better chance of success in 2020 and beyond.

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