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Wider access to agri-related datasets could boost precision farming progress

Agrimetrics has launched Field Explorer which it says will allow unprecedented access to a growing body of publicly funded and commercially available datasets, through a single interface.


Marianne   Curtis

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Marianne   Curtis
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Professor Richard Tiffin, chief scientific officer for Agrimetrics says it has invested two years in collating data that would be the most useful and insightful for the industry and is making it available in a consistent format so that the datasets can be cross analysed for the first time.

 

Public and acquired databases that can be accessed include those from the UK Met Office, Natural England, Environment Agency, ISRIC (International Soil Reference and Information Centre) and NASA. This is said to create a strong foundation for the data platform and, by providing ease of access to quality data, will accelerate the development of new products and services by other organisations in the agri-tech cluster.

 

Professor Tiffin says: “There are still many unknowns in agriculture, but what we do know is that complex systems can behave in predictable ways if all the elements are connected. Creating a better-connected food system will allow us to avoid the shocks that can be catastrophic to food supply and to the associated natural ecosystems, communities and businesses.”


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Map of fields

 

A feature of Field Explorer is that access to environmental, soil and crop data is made through a ‘map of fields’, created by Agrimetrics from earth observation data provided by Airbus. This has been used to map field boundaries across the UK creating an interactive interface for the data. It is said to be a ground-breaking way to present this data to users.

 

Dr Juno McKee, strategic projects lead at NIAB said: “The field structure forms a useful device for making sense of complex data. The Agrimetrics approach offers great potential to catalyse industry collaboration and underpin the next generation of precision solutions with data insights to boost productivity and profit across our sector.”

 

Agrimetrics CEO David Flanders said that the days of keeping silos of data are over. “The real value of data comes when you connect it. We are working with several multinational organisations to connect the data that is held internally in different departments. This is allowing them to gain greater value from the information they have collected and to use it in new ways.

 

Dr David Lawrence, chair of Agrimetrics said: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, what we are seeing here are at last are the tools the industry needs to do this. This is a huge opportunity but we need the interaction of those who need and use this information to get involved and help steer it.”

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