Data: A key decision making tool in the food value chain

In the news

Posted on April 18, 2023

“Start with the problem you’re trying to solve, and the data needed to solve it, in effect working backwards,” recommends Fiona Turner, a farmer and panel member on the topic of Digital distraction: making on-farm data work for you at February’s evokeAG 2023 conference.

Another panellist at the Digital distraction discussion, Brad Egan, who was recently named Australia’s Young Innovative Farmer of the Year, agreed that defining the end goal provided the ability to reverse engineer a problem and understand the types of technology that will be fit for purpose.

“It’s been a bit of journey, but I’m trying to improve our efficiency and sustainability in a climate challenged world,” he said.

When it comes to the actual technology uses, Brad was quick to point out: “If new technology isn’t simple and user friendly, it just becomes overwhelming,” adding, “Training and support are what farmers are looking for when adopting new tech.”

Fellow panellist, Hans Loder, Vineyard Manager with Penley Estate in Coonawarra said the best advice is to do a data audit on-farm, thus creating a ‘data map’ so that you can understand what is being collected, what data helps make better decisions and what the right technology is to help in decision making.

A recipient of the 2021 Nuffield Scholarship, Hans added: “Throughout my Nuffield journey, farmers often told me when I visited their properties, that ‘we don’t collect much data here’.”

“In fact, there was quite a lot of data being collected. So firstly, it’s important to understand the data points that are being collected, to set you up for the next decision, and that is which data points you need to help make better decisions.

“This data map will point you in the right direction to finding the right agtech that best fits your requirements.”

As farmers increasingly need to do more with less, The Yield’s precision yield management solutions use real-time data and AI to help farmers and growers with harvest predictions to reduce risk, and improve the efficiency, sustainability and profitability of food production.

Ros Harvey, Founder and CEO of The Yield, believes that “scalable digital technology, data and insights help to transform agricultural practices and solve real challenges for growers.”

“This, in turn, can impact the entire food value chain and create real value for multiple stakeholders,” she said.

Photo courtesy of Wine Australia.

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