The use of ’big data’ in farming could add $10 billion (£6.64bn) per year to global crop output through yield increases, a Rabobank report has claimed.
The report, ’From Intuitive to Fact-Based Farming’, also highlights fundamental changes to current practices would be required to implement data-led agriculture.
There would also need to be an upheaval of the relationships between farmer, supplier and customer.
Rabobank analyst Harry Smit said: "Also known as smart farming, data-intensive farming utilises new sensor technology to collect and process data for many variables relevant to monitoring and optimising crop growth."
"This allows farmers to tailor inputs and fine-tune application rates and cultivation activities down to the square metre.
"Over time, aggregation of data from many farmers will drive the development of even better agronomic decisions that can be customised and automated."
The report’s publication comes weeks after UK ministers opened a new ’big data’ research centre for agricultural innovation at Rothamsted in Hertfordshire.
Experts also stated in the publication severe adaption would be required by the global industry to manage the cost of investment, claiming this was likely to be easiest among large corporate farms common in the US, Australia and South America.
Small and medium-sized farms will reportedly need to find a means to access this new technology and will face competitive pressure in doing so. This is expected to require increasing scale by increasing operations or becoming part of a large franchise or organisation.