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Cloud Businesses

How Sensors and Software Turn Farms Into Data Mines 62

Nerval's Lobster writes that business intelligence tools have come to agribusiness, with farmers and cattle ranchers using many of the same tools found in numerous corporate cubicles, but fed by sensors you won't find in cubeland. "Machines (such as this one from DeLaval) keep track of all kinds of data about each cow, including the chemical properties of its milk, and flag when a particular cow is having problems or could be sick. The software can compare current data with historical patterns for the entire herd, and relate to weather conditions and other seasonal variations. Now a farmer can track his herd on his iPad without having to get out of bed, or even from another state. And Farmeron attempts to aggregate all farm-related data in a single Web portal. The company was started by Matija Kopi, the CEO who calls himself the 'Main Cowboy in the Saddle' and Marko Dukmeni, the CTO who is their Chief Tractor Hacker. They offer monthly accounts (starting at 25 cents per animal per month) to track animal physical characteristics along with milk production, medical treatments, and even particular feeding group schedules."
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How Sensors and Software Turn Farms Into Data Mines

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  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:22PM (#41375407)

    Farmers don't need iPads. They need to have the government stop screwing up the markets and inadvertently creating monopolies like Monsanto. They created genetically altered seeds that, when they blow into neighboring fields, they sue those farmers, forcing them into bankrupcy, and thus getting a cheap new addition to their mega farm.

    The other problems caused by government is they're endangering the food supply -- look it up online, we're about one drought away from a food shortage right now, the corn supply is down to about 6 months now, the lowest its been since the 50s. Part of it is because 40% of our corn gets turned into ethanol (a non-viable alternative to gas, used presently as an additive, at a premium), instead of food. Part of it is because the mega farms don't do proper crop rotation, but instead follow the market -- leading to diminishing yields and land overuse. And part of it is, ironically -- subsidies. The government steps in and says that there are certain price floors and ceilings for farming... and since eventually every farmer has a bad harvest, and they can't pay their mortage or whatever, they go bankrupt. It's inevitable; Just a matter of time. And then their land is bought up by the next door mega farm.

    The consolidation of the agricultural industry is going to screw us; and iPads are not going to help. Not in the slightest. What's even more funny... not many younger people want to work on a farm. A lot of family farms are closing up because the kids moved away. Not much money in it... So you're asking people in their 50s and 60s "Hey, wanna use an iPad to do something you've been doing for the past, uhh... forever?" No. They don't. They're worried about making the next mortgage payment and repairing the roof of the barn. an iPad is not high on the list, and it offers no real benefit in productivity or return on investment. It's a convenience, nothing more.

"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan