Northeast Illinois farmer Steve Pitstick has already seen the benefit of farming what he calls “critical field data,” or what others have called “big data:” the compilation and analysis of information from multiple sources. Information from one source, such as yield maps, might suggest one possible problem and solution. However, when this information is combined with data from other sources, a different problem and solution may become apparent. The more sources for
Think Different What is your data worth? Indiana farmer and software engineer Aaron Ault notes that data exchanged in commercial agriculture can be compared to Google or Amazon—and as data sharing increases, the cost of services will decrease. "If they couldn't use our data, those services would be way out of line,” he says. Northeast Illinois farmer Steve Pitstick agrees that aggregate data sharing will accrue benefits. "I only get to see a few hybrids across a few thousand acres and a few soil types. In the future I will be able to compare them across a much bigger area with a bigger data set," he says. While data values can’t be predicted, “with open data, we can let the market decide," Ault says.