René Koerhuis


In its so-called Industry Note 513 from October Dutch Rabobank focuses on the impact of big data on farming. According to the report (Dutch) “From intuition to information”, data intensive farming can generate over 10 billion dollars extra value in arable farming. With the massive amounts of data, it is possible to base decisions on facts rather than on intuition allowing for increased economies of scale, says the bank. Data-intensive farming will also change an put stress on the relationships between farmers, their suppliers and their customers.

Smart farming requires cooperation

According to the report, the development of smart farming methods calls for close cooperation between farmers, suppliers, agronomists, developers of technologies and customers. In the absence of a proven revenue model, the farmer and producer of all self-contained data, might not get the majority share of the value created with the data. Cooperatives should play a more important role and should also ensure that the farmer instead of his suppliers benefits most from the value of analysing and combining the data. In the US, South America and Asia this will most likely result in the accelerated development of large agricultural cooperatives.

Potential value big data over $10 billion

Rabobank estimates that the transition to data-intensive farming can generate over $ 10 billion additional value per year for farmers worldwide. This figure is based on an estimated revenue increase of 5 percent to 80 percent of the acreage of the seven most popular crops (corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, canola, barley and sunflowers). The actual value will be higher because the same benefits also apply for smaller crops such as sugar cane, potatoes, sugar beet, vegetables and fruit.