• Agriculture Technology
  • Jul 18, 2020

When it Comes to Data, Demand Quality and Personalization

With established and new companies offering many types of data sources it can be difficult to decipher truth from hype. Not sure if you’re getting the most value out of your data? Here are four checks your data should meet.

If your data is not valid and backed by strong replication and analytics, it’s much harder to be confident in what you can do with that data. Field trials like those done using the WinField Answer Plot® Program test products multiple times — even those that directly compete with Winfield US products. Whatever data source you choose, make sure it considers data integrity as a given.

One thing to look for when it comes to data is how many times a particular hybrid has undergone field testing. Look for data that includes a least significant difference (LSD) — a metric indicating that enough side-by-side replications have been performed on these products to reduce field variability. This lets you confidently choose hybrids based on genetics. A low LSD essentially means that trial error has been minimized due to replication – it is a good indication of more testing and less variability between results. We’re able to provide low LSDs through the Answer Plot® Program due to the level of local, regional and national testing conducted. This means we can account for conditions similar to your field but are able to ensure validity through regional and national data. It also means that we learn from bad results at our expense, limiting the need to test on your own land.
In a crowd-based system, data accuracy is susceptible to inaccuracy because it relies on individual, manual upload. Ask farmers if they’d trust their neighbors’ data or if they upload data from their combine accurately every time and most will say no. The quality of data and insights is only as good as the data input.

Analytics should be more than just bench-marking against historical data or performance from other farmers. Many crowd-sourced data companies offer descriptive analytics, which tell us about something that happened before. Descriptive analytics can be helpful for looking at field attributes like soil sample components, but pairing a hybrid by soil type is not something you likely want to do while looking back. You should spend more time looking at prescriptive analytics, which use data to prescribe an action.  

Specific to your fields.
Not your neighbor’s fields. Not other fields in your region. Your fields.

Data from combines, isn’t very specific. It doesn’t tell you what the weather was in a particular month, and it doesn’t offer insight on the agronomic practices used in the field. Yet, this type of information — as well as geography, maturity zones, soil textures, irrigation and what’s occurred in previous years — should figure prominently into your decision-making process. The R7® Tool takes variability into account, letting you know why a specific corn hybrid did well on a particular field.

The Corn Characterization Tool (CHT Tool) in the WinField R7® Tool, for example, contains corn characterization data and uses factors such as soil type, crop rotation, plant populations and management practices to help you choose the hybrids that are best suited to your fields.

Comes with an advisor.
Think of your doctor. They would never just hand you an x-ray and expect you to read it and diagnose the issue. That’s where the radiologist comes in. Similarly, there are many scenarios in which many farmers are confident in analyzing their data and making a product selection. But if a different type of weed resistance pops up, that farmer might need education on how to combat it more effectively. Some options claim to offer cost savings by essentially circumventing the retailer and advisor. What’s lacking is the expertise and troubleshooting help when data gets complex or issues pop up in the field.  

Data comes from multiple sources — from your combine, in-season imagery, trials, tissue sampling and more. A local trusted advisor can and should help ensure all of these data sources are connected. They’ll analyze and interpret all of the different data sets to help make personalized and quality recommendations for your operation.

Contact your local Winfield US retailer to learn more about getting the most value out of your data. And stay tuned to answerplot.com this fall for Answer Plot® data from the 2016 season once harvest has been completed in your area.

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