A wireless wave is coming to precision agriculture. Precision pundits predict that 2012 will be the tipping point in regards to wireless solutions for precision agriculture. The technology, the economics and most importantly ease of use has matured from a junior high science project to a viable mainstream solution in the world of precision.
Some may ask what all the hoopla is all about concerning wireless data transfer and precision agriculture. The industry’s seasoned veterans are hoping, praying that this technology can deliver information and data services seamlessly and completely like never before.
Why is this so important? Simple. In computer terms the industry needs a reboot – a restart – to Precision Agriculture 2.0. Ever since the early days of the first GPS yield monitors massive amounts of data never made it the short distance from the combine to the office computer. It is the digital equivalent of leaving a crop in the field to go to waste.
Being able to seamlessly capture “real-time” data instantly from planting to harvest may finally unlock the agronomic promises originally predicted in the early days of precision agriculture. Plus, it literally puts a “virtual” agronomist in the field by being able to wirelessly send prescriptions to the cab and also monitor growing crops from afar.
With all this promise also come possible pitfalls. Wireless data transfer sounds wonderful – but transfer to where? Equipment and hardware manufacturers are quickly jockeying to build the infrastructure to capture these streaming bytes of information. The big name players – John Deere, CNH, Raven, Trimble and Ag Leader all either have a solution or have outlined their wireless plans that will roll in the coming months.
But what are hardware companies going to do with digital mountains of agronomic data? Certainly makes you wonder what their end game is. Just how this “data” is going to be made available back to the producer? How much is it going to cost to retrieve it? What happens when a grower has a “mixed” set of precision hardware brands? Is it going to be like when you need $100 cash from the bank and you have go to 5 different banks to withdraw it?
It is because of questions like these that independent data management companies like Prime Meridian have a legitimate place in this new wireless world of precision agriculture. Why? Because producers want a single, safe, independent home where they can go online to do their precision business. And with wireless on the way – that business is likely to boom.