A Data Marketplace could solve agriculture’s big problem

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Agrimetrics, a UK Agri-tech Centre with public backing, has launched the agri-food sector’s first Data Marketplace, which promises to reward data-owners, whilst accelerating innovation.  

Agriculture has a big data problem. The sector desperately needs to improve productivity and sustainability. Data-driven technologies promise solutions to these challenges; unfortunately, many of these promises have been hollow.

“The problem is two-pronged,” says Dr David Flanders, Agrimetrics CEO. “Agri-businesses are – often justifiably – reluctant to share their data. Meanwhile, organisations lack the information they need to build new solutions. This has prevented meaningful innovation. Data-driven Manufacturers have, for example, increased production by 50% and cut waste by 20%.”

In response, Agrimetrics, the National Agri-Tech Centre for Innovation in Data Science, is overhauling the way agricultural data is shared and accessed. The Agri-Food Data Marketplace enables data-owners to safely share and monetise their data, whilst making it easier for data-consumers to find the information they need. 

This has attracted significant attention. Agrimetrics has close links with AHDB, DEFRA and the NFU, and boasts Microsoft as a strategic partner. Airbus, the aerospace giant, has already made satellite-derived field attributes available through The Data Marketplace; these attributes can be used to calculate irrigation requirements and develop methods for countering lodging. Airbus are joined by The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Soil Grids, The Met Office, Natural England, The Environment Agency and others. 

BASF, the world’s largest chemical manufacturer, has used the data to develop a water stewardship tool that gives field-specific guidance on when to spray. wHen2gO simplifies a complex regulatory area and is an example of how data-driven tools can improve sustainability and farm profitability. Barfoots, the UK food and farming company, have used the data to create a predictive harvest model to reduce waste and inefficiencies across their international supply chains.

“Robotics, artificial intelligence, carbon farming, predictive models, farm-to-fork traceability and natural capital accounting are often-highlighted when discussing the future of agriculture,” concludes Dr Matthew Smith, Agrimetrics Chief Product Officer. “However, they fundamentally depend on the ability to easily exchange data. This requires new linked-data supply-chains that seamlessly connect data-producers and data-consumers throughout the food and farming system. The Agri-food Data Marketplace is the closest yet to making this a reality.”

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