John Deere has developed an innovative private permission-based platform that allows third-party suppliers of agricultural services to use farm data to help farmers make decisions better. Blended with their own data and insights, artificial intelligence is allowing agricultural service providers to conceive and deliver bespoke services – remotely – tailor-made for each field and farm.
The ability to, “blend data from each farmer’s operational and supplier universe is, for the first time, unleashing the power of artificial intelligence on South African farms,” says Wayne Spaumer, Product Specialist for Precision Agriculture, Sub-Sahara Africa at John Deere. The impact of artificial intelligence for individual farmers – in terms of increased yields, dramatically cut costs and, ultimately, higher incomes per hectare – is set to, “transform South African agriculture by radically increasing the accuracy with which farmers make decisions,” stated Spaumer.
Increasing the range of data points – available instantly and electronically – will also, “speed up decision-making, allowing the farmer to focus on income-generating functions and tasks,” added Spaumer.
To ensure that farmers maximise the yield impact of their machines by leveraging technology, John Deere has developed a platform, called Operations Center. Operations Center enables farmers to combine data produced by any agricultural machine fitted with basic guidance and monitoring packages – with supplier data from, say, soil analysts or fertiliser and seed companies.
Since, however, John Deere knows that farmers have a lot of decisions to make in a day and that they don’t farm alone, “choices on which third-party suppliers and services to work with are critically important – especially because of the information that these suppliers can provide,” said Spaumer.
In response, John Deere recently added a function, called More Tools to its Operations Center. More Tools provides the ability to combine a farmer’s existing data with data from companies like AgStudio, GeoFarm or T3RRA Tools, producing a much broader view of the farmer’s universe. This much richer data set enables each farmer to, “plan and manage activities, monitor progress and analyse results – informed by accurate reports compiled using his or her own operational and broader supplier and service data,” says Spaumer.
By simply registering a farm as an organisation on MyJohnDeere.com, “South African farmers can build a one-stop artificial intelligence-driven information, decision-making and guidance shop – providing advice, in real time, based on their own farm data,” says Spaumer.
For example, by sending a soil analysis shape file to one of the soil analysers appearing in the More Tools function on a farmer’s Operations Center, results can then be shared with, say, a tillage adviser and then a seed supplier. Once blended and analysed, all this data can be relayed back to a farmer’s planter, guiding the machine on how best to till the field, what seed to plant, at what depth and in which frequency. “The fuel, time, seed and reduced compacting savings that information like this can achieve, not to mention the yield increases, is set to transform how South Africans farm,” predicts Spaumer.
Third-party service providers that have already joined the John Deere More Tools platform include; Agritask Agronomic management platform, AgStudio, Cropsat, Delair.ai, Ecosat, Farm Dog Scout, Farm shots, Fieldclimate by Pessl Instruments, Fieldmargin, GeoFarm, Landscout Mobile app, Mavrx, Meteobot Local Weather & Soil, Next Farming Office, SoilOptix, and T3RRA Tools.
To expand the third-party supplier universe available to farmers on the More Tools option of its Operations Center, John Deere recently hosted a seminar promoting the advantages of listing on More Tools. Companies attending included; Aerobotics, RPAS consulting, Geoterra, Carrus fleet Management Services, Multi green, SGS, Agrisol, Agritechnovations, Mezzanine, BCS connect, Yara, Sion Agri, Nulandis, Axioteq, Novon retail.
The ‘Develop with Deere 2019’ seminar demonstrated how third-party suppliers can, “register on More Tools, by adopting available API`s and work through a ‘sand box’ testing period,” explained Spaumer. Once registered, South African farmers will be able to work with these companies, “by selecting them as trusted partners and granting them specific access to their data,” he added. The suppliers listed on More Tools can then rework the farmers data on their own software programs, returning information to the farmer based on their agreement.
John Deere, “encourages all firms working with farmers to join our More Tools function so that, together, we empower South Africa’s agricultural hardware with autonomous decision-making capabilities,” said Spaumer.
John Deere has plans for more seminars in 2020 aimed at attracting additional relevant third-party suppliers to register on More Tools. In the meantime, companies considering registering on More Tools can explore the function and make contact with John Deere at https://developer.deere.com/#!help&doc=HELPoverview.htm .