Big data servicesAs Big Data becomes more pervasive throughout farming, it’s important to understand what farmers need to make data collection and analysis successful, says John Fulton, Extension specialist at Auburn University.

“For many, there is no clear incentive or objective about the relevance of taking the time to collect and archive all this data,” he writes in a recent paper titled Data Management at the Farm Level. “Many growers do not have the time or do not know where to start, so they never successfully engage in data collection and management.”

A survey conducted last winter asked farmers about their needs in regards to successful data management, Fulton says. Here are the top five responses that farmers say will make data management more valuable on their operations.

1. Automatic, seamless wireless data transfer among machines and the cloud so data is stored in a single location, but can be accessed from multiple locations.

2. Resources and education on getting started, along with local support and training.

3. More simple-to-use, user-friendly farm-management software. Web-based platforms are preferred so information can be accessed from any laptop, smartphone or tablet.

4. Quick start guides on using interfaces or displays from one year to the next.

5. Standardized data formats and compatibility among brands.

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions when managing data collection on your farm, Fulton adds. You must be engaged to understand data services being offered and get the most out of the technology.

You can obtain a full copy of the report here.