Big data leads to bigger changes in the ag industry

Crop field

In the 21st century, data is king in any industry. The more you know about customers, product performance and production, the more efficient and relevant your company can become.

Agriculture has been relying on data for a long time. When seeds were planted and crops harvested by hand, farmers had already begun collecting data, better understanding which soil yielded a healthier harvest. As the agriculture industry has incorporated technology to yield the best results, data has allowed commodity traders and farmers to become smarter about their processes, saving time, money and resources where and when they can.

Analyzing agricultural data

With the correct algorithms and interpretation, data is a powerful tool in the agriculture industry, and according to Forbes, the U.S. software market for precision farming tools is estimated to grow 14% by 2022. These tools create predictions and conclusions that allow growers to use collected data to make decisions. Big data is most useful when software tools use that data to create useful information that growers can use.

“You don’t automatically see a solution if you have a single graph or table,” says Joost Sparla, marketing and poultry director for ForFarmers. “You cannot draw a conclusion on that. You need to develop an algorithm to make the data more visible.”

For example, feed producers can’t gauge the effectiveness of their feed if all they have is production data. To make an appropriate assessment of feed effectiveness, producers also need information from the farm. When these two pieces of data are pulled together and analyzed, they are a valuable indicator of feed effectiveness and can be used to make improvements in feed production.

Those types of connections are creating a revolution in the agriculture industry. Big data is allowing growers to make more accurate crop predictions to do things such as helping researchers create hardier seeds to help farmers in African regions where crops are hard to grow. And it’s shaping the agriculture industry to become more environmentally aware as it takes steps to protect the environment.

Don’t get overwhelmed

The sheer amount of agricultural data available in today’s world can be overwhelming, which is why software tools that turn the data into actionable information are so important. Sprout Solutions’ products for merchandisers and mills meets that criteria, taking charge of the data and turning it into information you can use to make the right decisions for your business.

Our specialization came from the knowledge that foodborne illnesses cost the U.S. economy more than $55 billion every year which lead to the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). By ensuring preventive controls for safe feed and safe food, we recognized the need for a unique, data-rich software solution for both feed mills and commodity traders.

Our products, Milling Station and CommodiTrade, handle crucial logistics including position management and transfers, settlements, contracts, analytics, scheduling, tracking sales and purchases, tracking products to a specific lot and ingredient and recordkeeping.

Big data is changing agriculture in big ways. From making agriculture more environmentally friendly to boosting yields and feeding more people, big data is changing the world. Don’t let the world change around you. Make sure you have the right tools to utilize the right data to improve your business.


Gretchen Henry is the co-founder and CEO at Sprout Solutions, a full-service software platform that provides mills and merchandisers in the agricultural industry with accurate, Web-based tools and systems to ensure the food they produce is not only safe, but traceable. Connect with Sprout Solutions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *