Farmers are collecting more data than ever and experts in the field of agricultural technology say this is a good thing. Ask farmers and you may get a more lukewarm response, however. While it is true that many farmers are collecting a great deal of data, many are unsure what to do with that data.
For years farmers have been told that data collection will help them run their farms more efficiently and allow them to make better business decisions. This may be true, but only if farmers know how to accurately analyze the data they collect.
Many farmers are reluctant to hand over their data to an outside organization or company to have it analyzed. So what’s a farmer to do? Analyze it themselves, of course! Here’s how:
- Choose the correct software. There are several software packages out there so farmers need to do their research and pick the one that aligns best with their particular goals.
- Gather information. It is essential that the yield monitor data in the cab is accurate and that you have a reliable way of transferring that data from the cab to the office.
- Check (and double check) your data. Once your data has been entered into the software program it is important to double check that it is correct. Any errors entered into the software program will have a negative impact on your bottom line so always take the time to re-check things like yield totals, etc. While most farmers are interested in documenting their harvest, it also pays to document all operations. Doing so will help determine overall trends.
- Study the trends. Once you are sure your data has been collected and entered correctly you can look back over the crop season and examine what happened and why. This will help you to make necessary adjustments and figure out what factors drove yields and many other things.
- Put insights into action. Nothing you have done up until this point will mean anything if you don’t take the insights gleaned from your data and put those insights into practice.
Farmers are self-reliant. This is true whether they are harvesting crops or gathering and analyzing data. While farmers can certainly go to an outside source to analyze their data, it’s nice to know that those who wish to analyze it themselves can do so.