IBM announced on Thursday that it would be collaborating with The Flint River Partnership to deploy a data-driven method to increase “agricultural efficiency by up to 20 percent.” The goal of the partnership is to use big data tools to analyse large volumes of meteorological, geographical and historical data, which will in turn allow farmers to model weather patterns with more accuracy and localization. With this information, farmers can make better informed irrigation scheduling decisions to “conserve water, improve crop yields and mitigate the impact of future droughts.”
“Farming operations are highly sensitive to weather. In the US, that sensitivity is about $15 billion per year. For example, the USDA estimates that 90 percent of crop losses are due to weather. In addition, improving efficiency in irrigation will reduce the impact in areas with limited water supplies. By better understanding and then predicting these weather effects, we can help mitigate these impacts,” said Lloyd Treinish, Distinguished Engineer & Chief Scientist, IBM Research.
The project will take place in Lower Flint River. The area is known to be an important part of Georgia’s economy – across its 27 counties the area produces more than $2 billion dollars in farm-based revenue annually.
The agriculture and agriculture related industries contributed $775 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2012, a 4.8 percent share. The recent announcement of IBM’s agreement with The Flint River Partnership, along with the growth of big data in other agriculture companies like Monsanto and CropIn, is a sign of how the agriculture industry is becoming a hotspot for big data analytics.
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