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Digital agriculture: Data-gathering robots, drones may be the future of farming

| | March 14, 2019

For six generations, Ben Riensche’s family has tended corn and soybeans outside Jesup, a town of 2,500 on the windswept plains of eastern Iowa.

But today he’s harvesting a valuable new crop from his 12,000 acres: information. “The future is simply data analytics and tech,” says Riensche….In the half-dozen years since he signed up for a data analysis service from Climate Corp., a unit of Bayer AG, Riensche has reduced the seed he uses by 6 percent and the fertilizer by 11 percent while growing his best crops ever. “Before, there was no secret sauce other than just keeping notes and making field observations,” he says. “Now we have all these digital tools.”

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Information collected by farmers—yields, fertilizer use, crop rotation, rainfall, and dozens of other data points—is catnip to the likes of Bayer, SyngentaDowDuPont, and BASF. The companies feed it into software that predicts combinations of seeds, fertilizers, and sprays to maximize yields.

Read full, original article: Data Becomes Cash Crop for Big Agriculture

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