Renowned agri-firm, John Deere has revolutionised the provision of agricultural services and helping farmers make informed decisions, by developing an innovative private permission-based platform that allows third-party suppliers to use farm data.
The Operation Center platform already deployed in South Africa, ensures that farmers maximise the yield impact of their machines by leveraging technology. It enables farmers to combine data produced by any agricultural machine fitted with basic guidance and monitoring packages – with supplier data from soil analysts or fertiliser and seed companies.
By means of artificial intelligence, the new innovation blends farmers’ data and insights, which in turn allows agricultural service providers to conceive and deliver tailored services remotely for each field and farm.
Speaking on the innovation, Product Specialist for Precision Agriculture, Sub-Sahara Africa at John Deere, Wayne Spaumer stated that the ability to, “blend data from each farmer’s operational and supplier universe is, for the first time, unleashing the power of artificial intelligence on South African farms.
Spaumer while noting the impact of artificial intelligence for individual farmers – in terms of increased yields, dramatically cut costs and, ultimately, higher incomes per hectare, stated that the firm is set to, “transform South African agriculture by radically increasing the accuracy with which farmers make decisions.”
Explaining how it works, Spaumer said that by simply registering a farm as an organisation on MyJohnDeere.com, South African farmers can build a one-stop artificial intelligence-driven information, decision-making and guidance shop – providing advice, in real time, based on their own farm data.
According to him, increasing the range of data points – available instantly and electronically – will also, “speed up decision-making, allowing the farmer to focus on income-generating functions and tasks.”
Acknowledging the fact farmers can’t farm alone and they have a lot of decisions to make, Spaumer identified that“choices on which third-party suppliers and services to work with are critically important – especially because of the information that these suppliers can provide.”
The firm also added a More Tools function to the platform, which provides the ability to combine a farmers existing data with data from companies like AgStudio, GeoFarm or T3RRA Tools, producing a much broader view of the farmers universe.
In Spaumer’s remarks, this richer data set, enables each farmer to“plan and manage activities, monitor progress and analyse results – informed by accurate reports compiled using his or her own operational and broader supplier and service data,”
On the function, Spaumer divulged that by sending a soil analysis shape file to one of the soil analysers appearing in the More Tools function on a farmer’s Operations Center, results can then be shared with, other agricultural advisers or seed supplier.
Once blended and analysed, all the data can be relayed back to a farmer’s planter, guiding the machine on how best to till the field, what seed to plant, at what depth and in which frequency. “The fuel, time, seed and reduced compacting savings that information like this can achieve, not to mention the yield increases, is set to transform how South Africans farm,” predicts Spaumer.
Third-party service providers that have already joined the John Deere More Tools platform include; Agritask Agronomic management platform, AgStudio, Cropsat, Delair.ai, Ecosat, Farm Dog Scout, Farm shots, Fieldclimate by Pessl Instruments, Fieldmargin, GeoFarm, Landscout Mobile app, Mavrx, Meteobot Local Weather & Soil, Next Farming Office, SoilOptix, and T3RRA Tools.
Spaumer further noted that once farmers are registered, they will be able to work with other third party companies, “by selecting them as trusted partners and granting them specific access to their data.” According to him, the suppliers listed on More Tools can then rework the farmers data on their own software programs, returning information to the farmer based on their agreement.
John Deere is also encouraging all firms working with farmers to join the More Tools function so that, together, they can empower South Africa’s agricultural hardware with autonomous decision-making capabilities.