Digital Farming

Companies like John Deere and Monsanto are helping digitize agricultural business processes. These companies are using data science, global positioning systems (GPS), wireless communications, automated driving vehicles and vehicle tracking systems. These types of systems allow the farmer to conserve precious resources while maximizing their profits. Sustainable farming is becoming the mainstream way to farm. These technologies are what is transforming the traditional farm into a digital firm to stay technologically updated with the rest of the agribusiness industry.

John Deere uses GPS to aid utilize AutoTrac. AutoTrac allows a tractor to self-drive using presets for the different types of driving methods within a field. This provides the farmer the flexibility to run their field the way they want and the different ground conditions permit. With AutoTrac, the number of passes a vehical has to make does several things for the farmer. Due to less driving, the fuel costs are reduced and allows for more coverage during any given day. Farmer fatigue is also reduced through the self-driving of the tractor. This allows the farmer to focus on the product producing aspects of their fields, such as seed and fertilizer disbursement.

Another John Deer product is, JDLink. This system deploys wireless communications between the farmer and machinery. Farmers can keep track of the location of all their equipment. This communication can also utilize mobile devices. JDLink is a subscription service that provides data management. Through the use of cellular networks, JDLink can send valuable information to the farmer such as fuel consumption and fluid levels of their machinery. AutoTrac and JDLink help the farmer by making increasing their income from crops. Another technology, Machine Sync, allows multiple pieces of equipment to work together and reduce the amount of loading and unloading of crops from machine to machine.

Data science has become more prevalent in 21st century farming. Monsanto’s Fieldscript has enabled the farmer to gain more valuable information about the conditions of their fields. Monsanto gathers data from the farmers and is able to provide information about how much fertilizer and water to use on the farmer’s crops. With this information a farmer can reduce the amount of wasted resources and boost overall yield per acre. The result is an increase in profits for the farmer. Having detailed information about their fields, a farmer can make more informed decisions about what products to ultimately use in their fields to maximize their profits. This is achieved through compiled historical data on the farmer’s fields.

Farming has become a digital firm because farmers are now utilizing information technology (IT) in their core business processes and in the managing of their assets. Farmers that have become digital firms can respond more quickly to changes in environmental conditions. These conditions can negatively impact their profits because of changes in soil quality. The suppliers of seed, chemicals, and fertilizers have been able to provide more individualized products for the farmers because of the data that farmers can provide to the suppliers. Planting and harvesting has become digital as well.

Through IT, farmers can maximize their return on investment by reducing variable overhead such as fuel consumption and the use of seed and fertilizers while increasing production at the same time. IT also allows better understanding of what futures for crops may look like and allow the farmer to lock in a better price prior to harvesting their crops. This reduces the need for storing inventory for very long. This allows the farmer to sell crops at it’s highest quality, which will yield a better price at market. This can reduce the amount of plant and equipment costs by not needing as much physical storage for the farmer’s crops.

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