If your only experience with growing food is in your garden, on a small scale, you can be forgiven for thinking that farming is a low-tech endeavor. But like most other businesses, technology has an important place in large-scale farming, whether it’s for agricultural implements and machinery or used for monitoring and tracking data that can make a difference between profitability and breaking even.
“When you come into our product as a new farmer you can start clicking on your field and we already know the rain fall and crop history and what yield looks like for those fields. Agriculture really boils down to a science. It’s agronomy. And it can be optimized by applying data science.”
— Jesse Vollmar
An ag tech startup believes it has some insights into the future of farming, and that by harnessing technology and data sets to help farmers make better decisions and keep track of their operations, farms can be more efficient and more profitable.
Knowing exactly how much acreage is under cultivation for which specific crops, how much rain has fallen (or is expected), what crops were planted when, what the commodity prices for those crops are, which crops performed better (and why), what farm tasks need to happen (and when), and keeping your eyes on a huge number of important variables in the field, are all key components of a successful farming operation.
By putting technology to work to keep track of the data that can make or break a farmer, the FarmLogs data platform could be a powerful tool for not only record-keeping and forecasting, but also for improving on-farm and in-the-field efficiency, and may end up being the most important farming implement in the barn.
The FarmLogs farm management software is cloud-based, with an online dashboard, but also has mobile apps that allow farmers to input (and access) their data while actually in the field, potentially saving both time and money. According to Modern Farmer, this innovative ag software “simplifies almost every aspect of running a farm: budgeting for the season, scheduling and monitoring work on far-flung fields, finding market commodity prices, and reminding farmers when to bring their tractors in for service.”
FarmLogs is only two years old, but has already attracted $4 million in investor financing, and is used by 5% of row farmers in the US, as well as being adopted by farmers in 130 countries around the world.
We caught up with Jesse Vollmar in 2013 to talk about FarmLogs and the ISOBlue open source data management project.