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Hugh Martineau

Head of Sustainability, Map of Ag

Better data management can be revolutionary for a farming business says Hugh Martineau, Head of Sustainability at agricultural data specialist, Map of Ag.

Data provides the foundation for decision making. It stands to reason that the more information we have, the more informed our choices will be. It’s why the way we manage our data is so crucial.

Data challenges in farms

However, data management can present a particular challenge on a farm where potentially thousands of different data points — from livestock and compliance records to nutrient management plans, water usage and energy bills — are available but under-used. Complicating the picture further is that no two farms are the same or operate in the same way.

Benefits of holistic data management

Yet, if all of a farm’s disparate and siloed data could be brought together and viewed holistically, it would generate insights that guarantee a better understanding of its operations and highlight untapped opportunities to refine management practices. The result would be improved profitability, environmental performance, animal welfare and compliance.

Which is why farmers and growers have an increasingly pressing need to be able to bring data together easily from multiple sources, ideally through one centralised and secure platform.

Improved data sharing would also deepen collaboration between farmers, their advisers, suppliers and customers.

Control over information usage

Security is critical, of course, which is why the data originator (farmer or grower) must be in complete control of the data on the system: They must manage permissions so that requested information is only shared with trusted partners, and they control how the information can be used via data agreements.

Improved data sharing would also deepen collaboration between farmers, their advisers, suppliers and customers and lead to increasing consumer confidence that individual parts of the supply chain are working well together to — for example — reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By managing data better, farmers can step back and see the bigger picture. They can revolutionise their business in the process.

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