What Is Digital Agriculture?

Farming has come a long way since the invention of the tractor for increasing agricultural productivity. The digital age has touched every industry, and agriculture is no exception. Digital agriculture is the use of data and artificial intelligence that helps every ag player up-level how they grow, harvest, and sell food the world over. 

Crops with data information

Digital Agriculture vs. Precision Agriculture: an important distinction 

Farmers have embraced leading-edge tools for decades that can help them collect and analyze farming data to increase crop yield. Soil content, moisture, nutrient trends, and wind patterns down to any square foot of arable land are just a few of the metrics available to growers with digital agriculture technologies. 

Further, taking land and crop data and integrating them into software used in marketing, forecasting, and production is the new “norm.”  

Precision agriculture (or precision farming) encompasses digitized on-farm growing operations such as: 

  • Weather forecasting and micro-forecasting 
  • Yield mapping 
  • Variable-rate applications (for water, pesticides, and fertilizers) 
  • GPS guidance systems 

Digital agricultural systems, by contrast, include precision farming and every other operation involved in the agri-food supply and value chain. Digital agriculture encompasses: 

  • Block-chain technology (which increases supply-chain transparency, directly benefiting smaller growers worldwide) 
  • Tractor and other equipment rental apps 
  • Intelligent warehouse platforms 
  • e-Commerce software 
  • Agri-food marketing and advertising platforms 
  • Technological advances in seed and agri-chemical production 

 Of course, the list of technological inclusions in digital agriculture continues to grow each year. Further, as ag technology continues to get more commonplace, more growers and their partners can participate meaningfully and productively in the industry. 

 

How do I maximize my digital agriculture buy-in for optimal ROI? 

 Choosing the level of digitization to use in your ag operations depends on several factors: 

  • Pinpointing your most significant production or growing challenges 
  • Selecting the technology that will positively (and quickly affect your efficiency, productivity, and environmental impact 
  • Leveraging your operational budget to include the most helpful digital agriculture tools (it’s okay to start small and build your tech platforms as you go) 

Soybean Field with storm clouds

Climate change, micro forecasting, and variable rate application  

When the wind blows and the rain falls, they don’t only redistribute valuable topsoil. Weather conditions in the forecast determine when you need to water your fields or spray your crops. You’ll also need accurate weather data to spray your crops so the additives land and stay where they should: on your selected plants. 

Detailed short and long-term weather data can help growers accurately map their fields for optimal additive distribution. You must use single-season and multi-year climate trends to help you strategize your additive schedule and quantity.  

Optimizing this section of your business is nearly impossible without reliable and detailed weather analysis. Combining field-tested technology, your real-world knowledge of your crops, and expert human help (like seasoned on-demand meteorologists) create a trifecta of resources to help you max out yields while using fewer resources. 

When growers have access to accurate field weather data, they can make operational decisions to mitigate damage or proactively take advantage of short-term optimal growing conditions. 

Much of our current weather data centers on densely populated areas, not rural regions (where it’s arguably most needed.) Procuring an ag-focused weather data solution for your farm means you can increase productivity from the first forecast. 

 

Interpreting and leveraging the data

Though precision farming and digital agriculture rely heavily on technology, humans still play a vital role in interpreting and leveraging reliable data.  

Farming is nothing if unpredictable. Even the most finely tuned instrumentation deployed in the field is subject to error. For example, soil moisture sensors that are improperly installed can result in air gaps leading to preferred channels for runoff around the probe, as well as inaccurate readings. 

Plus, gathering detailed data is worthless if you cannot use it. Having easy-to-read and interpretable software platforms is crucial in using the information you collect. It helps, too, if you can work with your data in the field on mobile devices that let you stay hands-on with your crops.  

Livestock grazing in field

Helping growers by combining technology and humanity 

DTN employs industry-leading technology. We combine our weather data technology with a team of human experts who understand the many challenges growers face in bringing their crops successfully from planting to harvest and market. 

With unfettered access to the most accurate and customized weather data, you can increase your confident decision making in several key livestock and crop health areas: 

  • Livestock feeding schedules and locations 
  • Fertilizer and fungicide crop applications 
  • Storm preparedness and loss mitigation 

 

Win in the digital agriculture sector with weather data that works for you 

Standing by our agricultural clients with the best of digitization and social support is how we set ourselves apart from other providers. Our farmers win and can increase food production with timely and accurate weather data they can trust. 

Digital agriculture doesn’t work without reliable crop-growing practices based on reliable data and effective strategy. Unless all farming moves indoors, weather patterns continue to govern the success or failure of crops worldwide. 

Securing your success with the innovative weather forecasting technology that DTN provides is paramount to your prosperity in every growing season. Take a demo of MyDTN to discover how you can increase productivity when combining our actionable weather data insights with your agriculture expertise.

DTN is an industry leader in weather forecasting technology to help you leverage accurate weather, soil, and agronomic data for improved crop health, productivity, and environmental impact. The MyDTN platform helps you boost your buying and selling responsiveness in real-time. Track and manage your grain offers, access market strategies, and be alerted to local selling opportunities. With MyDTN, the global market is in the palm of your hand. All you need is a signal and a device to access the market and weather information you need in one simple click. Take a demo of MyDTN to discover how you can increase productivity when combining our weather data insights with your agriculture expertise.