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The future of agriculture: why commercial agriculture should adopt cloud technology

Technology Is a Driving Force in Agriculture Today

Agriculture has become a major adopter of technology to drive ROI and sustainability. Commercial agriculture needs to be quick and efficient with their operations to meet sustainability requirements and production goals in the current environment and the future.  Technology has helped farmers improve yields, reduce costs, and protect the environment. 

For example, drones are now being used to monitor crops, identify pests and diseases, and apply pesticides more precisely. Through this technology, farmers have been able to apply optimal crop protectants, which is good for the environment and for farmers. Additionally, technology is helping farmers to improve their efficiency. Precision agriculture tools are a good example of this as they are helping farmers to apply water and fertilizer more precisely, reducing costs and increasing environmental sustainability. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping the agricultural landscape with capabilities to drive innovation and optimize agricultural processes. AI-powered systems are capable of analyzing large amounts of data from a variety of sources. These datasets may include weather patterns, soil composition, historical yield data, and crop health information. Through the use of machine learning algorithms, AI has the ability to highlight patterns and correlations that humans may overlook. Ultimately, this leads to improved crop prediction and disease detection. The integration of AI in agriculture could drive increased efficiency but also sustainable practices by minimizing resource waste and environmental impact.

The agricultural industry has become a data-rich sector with the adoption of various sensors, satellites, and IoT devices. Big data analytics has emerged as a powerful tool in harnessing the vast amount of information generated from farms and agricultural operations. By collating and analyzing this data, farmers gain valuable insights into crop performance, soil health, and overall farm management. 

Predictive analytics based on big data enables farmers to anticipate challenges, optimize resource allocation, and develop more resilient farming strategies. Moreover, big data in agriculture fosters knowledge-sharing among farmers and researchers, creating a collaborative ecosystem that facilitates the exchange of best practices and innovative solutions. Harnessing big data in agriculture unlocks immense potential for sustainable and efficient food production to meet the growing demands of a rapidly expanding global population.

Agricultural field trial technology has significantly advanced over the years, revolutionizing the way farmers approach crop cultivation and research. Traditional field trials were time-consuming, expensive, and limited in scope. However, with the advent of advanced field trial technology, data management for field trials has become more streamlined. 

However, many of these solutions are still on-prem and are limited in scope and functionality. For the future of commercial agriculture, on-prem technology must be set aside and cloud computing has to lead the way. 

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On-Prem Technology Barriers 

Today’s technology in commercial agriculture is largely on-prem, which is functional but comes with a set of limitations and problems. Of all the challenges created by on-prem technology, cost, scalability, security, and integration are all barriers to achieving next-generation performance. 

On-prem technology is expensive. When hardware and software are deployed within an organization’s physical premises and the organization is responsible for managing, maintaining, and securing that infrastructure, complexity, and cost is incurred. One of the primary expenses is the upfront capital investment required for purchasing and installing the necessary hardware and software, which can be substantial, especially for larger organizations with complex IT needs. 

Additionally, ongoing costs associated with maintenance, upgrades, and support contracts add to the financial burden. As technology rapidly evolves, on-prem solutions may also become obsolete faster, necessitating costly hardware replacements and software updates to remain competitive and secure. Furthermore, the need for skilled IT personnel to manage and troubleshoot on-premises systems contributes to the overall expenses.

Scalability challenges with on-premises technology pose significant problems for commercial agriculture organizations, with difficulties in accurately predicting future requirements leading to underutilization or costly upgrades, time-consuming provisioning and configuration of processes for sudden growth, and increasing complexity in maintenance and management as the IT infrastructure expands. Additionally, geographic scalability limitations can cause latency issues and reduced productivity for geographically diverse teams. 

Security challenges with on-premises technology present critical concerns for organizations aiming to protect sensitive agricultural data. One of the primary challenges is maintaining robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard against potential threats and attacks. As organizations manage their own infrastructure and data centers, they must invest in firewalls, intrusion detection systems, encryption protocols, and other security mechanisms to thwart unauthorized access. 

Moreover, ensuring timely and comprehensive updates and patches for software and hardware vulnerabilities becomes crucial to prevent exploitation by malicious actors. On-prem technology also demands vigilant monitoring and constant oversight to detect any suspicious activities or anomalies promptly. Additionally, the responsibility of physical security lies with the organization, necessitating measures to protect against theft, data breaches, and other physical risks.

The need to seamlessly integrate various on-premises systems and technologies can lead to data silos and hinder efficient information exchange. The lack of standardized communication protocols and the incorporation of emerging technologies like AI and big data analytics may strain existing infrastructure and hamper performance. Addressing these challenges requires careful planning and standardization.

Together, these problems pose significant barriers and are preventative of commercial agriculture moving quickly and being highly innovative – two things that the future will require. 

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Cloud Technology: The Sky is the Limit 

Commercial agriculture and cloud computing go hand-in-hand. With advantages like low costs, scalability, ease of use, and ongoing improvements, cloud technology will enable commercial agriculture to meet future goals through speed to market and innovation

Cloud-based technology offers the advantage of lower costs and scalability. Unlike traditional on-premises setups that require substantial upfront investments in hardware and infrastructure, cloud-based solutions operate on a pay-as-you-go model. Organizations only pay for the resources and services they actually use, allowing for cost scalability based on demand. 

Additionally, cloud providers handle the maintenance, updates, and security of the underlying infrastructure, eliminating the need for dedicated IT staff and reducing operational expenses. The shared nature of cloud resources also enables economies of scale, further driving down costs for users. 

With cloud-based technology, agriculture businesses can access a wide range of services and computing power without the financial burden of owning and managing their hardware, enabling more cost-effective and efficient operations. Cloud-based technologies provide a more flexible and efficient approach to meet the dynamic demands of the business landscape.

Commercial agriculture will also benefit from ongoing improvements. Agribusinesses will be able to take advantage of new features, enhanced technologies, and efficiency-enhancing updates without having to acquire additional hardware. 

Cloud computing applications in commercial agriculture provide the opportunity for enhanced collaboration and easy configuration. With the ability to manage access to authorized users and have multiple collaborators engaged with the software at once, collaborators don’t have to wait for data or information and companies can make decisions more quickly. Cloud technology is usually very customizable to the needs of a specific commercial agriculture business, and can be configured as needed without complexity or dedicated IT staff. 

Cloud-based technology also offers increased security measures, providing robust protection against cybersecurity threats. Cloud service providers employ dedicated teams of security experts to continuously monitor and update their systems, ensuring the latest defenses against evolving cyber threats. These providers also implement strict access controls, encryption protocols, and multi-factor authentication to safeguard sensitive data from unauthorized access. 

Cloud platforms offer data redundancy and backup features, minimizing the risk of data loss due to hardware failures or natural disasters. The cloud’s distributed nature also makes it resilient to localized disruptions, further enhancing data availability and business continuity. Overall, by entrusting their data and applications to reliable cloud providers, businesses can bolster their security posture and focus on their core operations with confidence in the protection of their valuable digital assets.

The future of commercial agriculture and sustainable agriculture will need to be in the cloud to take advantage of these benefits of scale, lower costs, security, and additional collaboration. 

Agmatix, Cloud Technology, and Agriculture 4.0

Cloud computing applications in commercial agriculture will support the Agriculture 4.0 revolution which relies on digital technology to drive smart, efficient, and sustainable agriculture. 

New generation technology from Agmatix is all based in the cloud to optimally support commercial agriculture in growing data for impact. 

Agmatix’s Agronomic Trial System is able to deliver a holistic solution that supports the planning, management, execution, data collection, and data analysis of field trials because it’s cloud-based. This technology works like an agronomic database in capturing data in a single place and allowing multiple users to access and analyze it. The solution even includes a mobile application that’s enabled by the cloud and allows for data capture online and offline. 

Users will find efficiencies in data collection and trial operations while increasing data integrity and reducing the total cost of ownership of their field trials. Data collection issues, sensor defects, and outliers can be identified early in the trial process to reduce the risk of data integrity issues. At the end of the day, the platform is able to provide a competitive advantage to users who see shorter cycle times and increased efficiency in bringing new products to growers. 

The Digital Crop Advisor solution is a decision support system designed to support crop nutrient optimization through data insights and expert knowledge. Global yield and regional trends are key inputs to driving crop yield, testing product performance and even understanding and sustainability. 

Agronomists will use this digital, cloud-based tool to work with growers on an optimized nutrition plan to optimize yield and sustainability. Farmers will benefit from the mobile capabilities of the system for their on-farm experiments. Digital Crop Advisor is able to offer real-time decision-making and access to agronomic data because it’s built with cloud technology. 

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The Future of Ag Depends on the Cloud

Agriculture must address current and future challenges with speed and innovation, both of which are enabled through cloud-based technology. Cloud computing applications in commercial agriculture support agriculture companies in reaching goals around operational efficiency, innovation, research and development, and product performance in the market. Moving away from legacy or on-prem solutions is necessary to reach sustainability goals and feed a growing population through efficiency and innovation. The shift to cloud technologies benefits companies, farmers, and consumers.