Luis H. Tobler Garcia

Big Data for Best Results

Imagine you are asked to organize a big party. An event with many guests from different places and you are responsible for taking care of everything: sending invitations, guest transportation and accommodations, ballroom rental, hosts, catering and music. This sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Now imagine you have to manage hundreds of data captured directly at a farm that produces tons of agricultural products. This information collected by sensors and other high-tech devices is what we call Big Data, and it is completely transforming global agriculture.

The popularity of the expression, in the past more restricted to the information technology area, has been increasing as more practical solutions become available. SNS Research think tank projects that the Big Data market in general may be worth $72 billion by 2020. By then, McKinsey consulting firm estimates the robotic agriculture market will be valued at around to $18 billion.

The use of Big Data in the farms opens up a world of possibilities for agribusiness. It is based on computing tools that turn terabytes of data into relevant information that will apprise farmer’s actions and help them achieve the crop’s full potential - which, in practice, results in better financial results.

Drone-captured images, for example, accumulate meticulous geographic data that allow to accurately identifying where there are weeds, making herbicide application more precise and reducing production costs. These are valuable for a greater efficiency in irrigation, since the farmer has more accurate information about the farm's climate, the soil, rainfall levels during the year, as well as other relevant information to determine the ideal amount of water - neither too much nor too little - to irrigate the plants.

Another benefit is predictive maintenance for machines. Based on data captured by sensors installed in the equipment combined with agronomic data, it is possible to predict equipment failures and avoid operating losses. As the grower is increasingly faced with production limitations due to factors such as changes in climate, soil variations, and disease and pest resistance to pesticides, data that are transformed into knowledge capable of identifying cause and effect relationships becomes more critical to help develop the best solutions.

Luis Hilário Tobler Garcia
Luis Hilário Tobler Garcia
Luis Hilário Tobler Garcia
holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of São Paulo (USP). He is the coordinator of the Big Data in Agribusiness Program at the State College of Technology (Fatec) in Pompeia, a city in the state of São Paulo.

This new - and more complex - world of agriculture is changing the profile of the professionals. Until recently, agribusiness attracted Human Science professionals to run the farm and Biological Sciences experts to work directly with the crop. Now there is a need for professionals from the field of Exact Sciences. In Brazil this gap was identified early and is one of the leading countries in the development of these competencies.

Luis Hilário Tobler Garcia
Luis Hilário Tobler Garcia
Today, exact science professionals are helping shape the future of agriculture.

The Paula Souza Center (CPS), a body of the Government of the State of São Paulo which manages the Technology Colleges (Fatecs) and the state Technical Schools (Etecs), offers the course Big Data in Agribusiness. The program was established in partnership with the Shunji Nishimura Technology Foundation. Launched earlier this year, it is the first training of its kind in Latin America and already counts with 20 students attending classes at Fatec Pompeia. The three-year curriculum was designed with the support from global companies such as Intel and SAP, in addition to the Brazilian outfit Totvs. The content was based on master degree programs offered in Finland and the United States. Computer science topics make up more than 60 percent of the curriculum, with the remainder of the syllabus focusing on agriculture, business administration, entrepreneurship, mathematics and statistics.

The transformation Big Data is exerting in agriculture requires innovative professionals. Data scientists, systems architects, software developers and specialists in frameworks (networks, servers) specific for the field will all play a key role in shaping the future of farming. The world is moving towards increasing efficiency in agricultural production, and the use of algorithms is the key to making the best decisions to bring nutritious food to every table in every corner of the world.

Current Readers´ rating (3)
All Comments

Daniel Chamorro
September 13, 2017 - 05:40 PM

Sounds Great!!

Big Dat, IT Tools in agriculture would be come good alternative to increase effiency and integrated sustainability concept that growers need around of the world, with this type of tolos the effiency in terms economy, enviromental and social: tree line bottom!
Congrats for articule and explain Big Data concept, evidence the future its prensent in agricultura: digital farming welcome!

No rating

September 12, 2017 - 07:49 PM

Luis, what an excellent use for big data in agriculture! Many uses of big data have a measurable positive impact on outcomes and productivity. Areas such as record linkage, graph analytics deep learning and machine learning have demonstrated being critical to help in the operational ways you mention as well as many other aspects that help society as a whole. It is worth mentioning the HPCC Systems open source offering which provides a single platform that is easy to install, manage and code. The built-in analytics libraries for Machine Learning make it easy for analyzing Big Data. Listen how Proagrica uses the platform to analyze th

Current Readers´ rating (1)

Thriving for Change - Championing Agriculture for a New Generation