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January 18th, 2019 / Foodtank

Farming, like any business, has a bottom line. At the end of the season, a farmer has to be able to account for the farm’s costs, subtract from the revenue, and determine whether or not the farm is profitable. Due to the number of variables involved in farming, however, calculating the bottom line for a farm is harder than for most businesses. The emerging field of Big Data is creating new approaches to help farmers analyze their farm operations and ultimately make agriculture more efficient, profitable, and sustainable. 

The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture is helping lead the digital revolution for farming. This initiative centers around incorporating Big Data tools into the work of more than 8,000 agricultural researchers across a global network of CGIAR Research Centers. The Platform for Big Data is accelerating discoveries in agriculture that translate directly into valuable guidance for farmers. In particular, the CGIAR Platform has the potential to make significant strides in sustainable intensification, a field of research that deals directly with assessing farming systems to improve efficiency.

Defined by CGIAR as agricultural practices that increase crop yields without increasing the amount of farmland used (or otherwise increasing the negative environmental impact of agriculture), sustainable intensification has become an important topic in recent years. According to a projection by the United Nations, the world population will increase by nearly two billion people in the next thirty years. Current agricultural production will have to increase up to 60 percent to keep pace with this population growth. Read more