World record for data collection set by OSU precision ag team

Over the last year, Trey Colley, a graduate student studying precision agriculture at The Ohio State University, worked to gather the most data ever collected for a single corn plant. Now that the growing season has transitioned to harvest, Colley has been amazed at the amount of data that has accumulated from his corn plant, Terra, growing in a field at the Farm Science Review.

“We have really exceeded our expectations this year and it’s been really cool to see all the different types of technology and their impact on producing the best crop that we can grow,” Colley said. “We collected 18.4 total gigabytes of data for Terra, that’s 28 megabytes per kernel. If we collected this amount of data for the whole 100-acre field, there would be 60 petabytes of data. That is more storage than 466,000 iPhones and three times more than the amount of data Google processes in a day. It would take 360 million filing cabinets filled with pages of text to hold 60 petabytes.”

Terra harvest3Over the course of collecting data, various precision technologies and platforms have played a role contributing data, including Integrated Ag Services with the development of common production units, AirScout with Precision Agri Services and others. The Climate FieldView package from The Climate Corporation has been an important part of streamlining the massive amount of information that has been collected.

“We use the Climate FieldView Pro account so that Nate Douridas, the farm manager of Farm Science Review, can take in all of his yield data, application data and planting data throughout the year. It streamlines the process where whatever operation he is doing comes instantly into the FieldView cloud and can be viewed by multiple users as it happens,” Colley said. “It is almost a live stream kind of format and we found that to be pretty valuable for our operation because of how it streamlines the data collection process and analysis in a way that makes it intuitive and easy to display. The whole process is basically automated.”

Luke Samuel, the commercial product director for The Climate Corporation, said that the ability to synthesize all this data really pays off at harvest time and beyond.

“Climate FieldView is a great tool for farmers to ultimately measure the success of harvest. You know how the yield monitor bounces around, but Climate gives a real-time high definition look at the harvest spatially so you know which portions of the field are working and which portions are not as productive as you want. It puts all the data into one place to gain insights into what worked and what didn’t so you can plan what you want to do next year,” Samuel said. “Harvest data is the measure of success across all of your fields. Climate FieldView actually streams data right to your combine and your planter, applicator and your anhydrous bar, so it gives you a complete picture of all of the operations on your farm. Our goal is get every pass across your field mapped so that you can analyze it at the end of the year with your harvest data to see how things paid you back.”

With organized data, farmers are in a better position to make their huge investments in a growing season pay.

“There is no doubt economics are tough on the farm and we want to make sure farmers understand what paid and what didn’t,” Samuel said. “It helps you think through all of your land and input decisions and you’ll have that at your fingertips for when you are talking with your suppliers and trusted agronomic partners. Customers have been hungry for a way to better tie in what they planted with the harvest results and understanding the ‘why’ behind it.”

In terms of Terra, the Climate FieldView files did not generate that much data in the total effort, which is a good thing, Colley said.

“Specifically, for the Climate FieldView files, we are probably under a gigabyte of data for those which is good because we want those actionable files to be lower so we don’t have as much data storage,” Colley said.

To catch the last of Terra’s progress through the 2017 harvest season, follow @OhioStatePA on Twitter and Ohio State Precision Ag on Facebook for updates.

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