In my last three blogs I wrote about the basics of modern technology, how to use data, and how to choose the software that best fits your farm business. So, what does the future look like for farms on the cutting edge?
The “Internet of Things” or “IoT”, is hardware that automatically collects and sends data from machines straight to a database in the cloud. This technology already exists and is used to track performance, costs of operation, and to troubleshoot mechanical issues. Agronomic software is getting to be even more precise...in fact, nailing down profitability to a field or management zone will not just be the standard, it will be necessary in the very near future. Of course, UAV’s, AKA “drones,” are going to be fully adopted by crop consultants, and will change the way they scout your fields. Robotic machinery will also be available.
There are some good cloud-based farm management applications out there, and a few accounting tools are being developed to work with these apps. In the future, these agronomic and business tools will integrate for automated reporting so that you and your advisors can make quick decisions, while being confident in the accuracy of the data. This will shape how you market your crops, as cost data will be updated in a more expedient and accurate manner.
Right now, smart phones and computers are the primary access point for data consumption. The future will see more sophisticated smart phone use, then progress to cloud access via “smart windshields” on your equipment (IF you are driving), or a “smart desk” at your office, which are wired to the internet.
According to the USDA Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report, U.S. Farmers are increasingly using the internet for business. Rural broadband initiatives are being funded by the federal government, so more reliable internet access will enable better cloud access.
The future for farming looks very bright for those who adapt to technology.
Scott Sartor is a manager at K•Coe Isom. Scott developed Croptell, a web-based application that provides financial reporting and farm business intelligence to farmers, enabling time savings and better business decisions. Scott has worked with farmers and their financials – in risk management or finance for over 17 years -- and stays passionate about technology because it makes operations more efficient. Follow him on Twitter @croptellScott.