Now of course, we’ve got to mention what’s going on with cloud technology. The fact is, cloud technology is going to be the norm. Many people in the ag industry and also other newcomers in ag are investing millions if not billions of dollars into cloud technology.

It’s how we’re going to really be able to scale all this data. In order to scale this data, we need all this computation power and basically not have a bunch of individual users trying to do everything manually. 

What these cloud platforms aim to do is what we’re trying to call a virtual farm, where they’re really trying to recreate and do simulations of what could happen based on the data that you’ve got feeding in. All of this data is supposed to be seamlessly streaming back and forth between the cloud. That way, all these different data points could be used. In order to close the loop, we have to have it all. 

But what’s the issue today? It’s all siloed off. It takes tremendous effort to put soil data, optical sensor data together, process it all in order to create a variable-rate map. These silos create this issue to where none of this results in seamless connectivity, to where you could focus on farming instead of playing with technology. 

When I say ‘silos’, every company and academic out there kind of has their own thing and they want their thing to succeed. Their thing is the most important. What they do is they make it harder for you to use their data outside of their platform, rather than keeping it a little bit more open approach and saying my soil’s data that I produce from my product is a critical component but not the only component. If you pair it with these other sensors, it can make for a good recommendation. 

What’s the take home? The complexity is very high. Now also, the cost is even higher. Then we have a reduced return on investment. These fragmented clouds to where we can’t really communicate across systems limits what we can really do. Then we have to focus more on getting the data and getting the tech to work rather than just focusing on farming. 

Hear more from Dr. Ray Asebedo in our Strip-Till Farmer podcast series, sponsored by Topcon Agriculture