The Development of a Conceptual Benchmarking Tool Representing Big Data and Agricultural Technology Adoption on the Farm
Jacob Maurer, Manhattan, defended his thesis, “The Development of a Conceptual Benchmarking Tool Representing Big Data and Agricultural Technology Adoption on the Farm,” on April 16th. He is the Lead Precision Sales Agronomist for Farmway Cooperative Inc. in Clay Center. Maurer is a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree.
The collection of “big data” from producers is a trendy topic, but studies of practical application of this type of information are few. One area that shows promise for the use of big data is whether implementing precision technology such as GPS, Global Navigation Satellite Systems, telematics, and unmanned aerial vehicles are profitable for the farm.
“Big data is more than just numbers on a spreadsheet. To be truly useful, we must be able to use the data along with analytics to assist in making agronomic and economic decisions. The goal of my thesis is to create a commercially-viable community analysis tool for benchmarking farmer-clients to show them whether precision agriculture is profitable for their specific farm,” Maurer said.
Maurer used a simulated data set for the initial runs of the model. While it provided a place to build upon, there are variables that need to be considered in future versions of the model including how the dataset handles losses due to weather or other natural events, how to evaluate a dryland versus irrigated farming operation, how to deal with crop sharing and cash rent, and how to offer suggestions for improvement when all levels of technology have been adopted.
Dr. Gregory Ibendahl, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and Maurer’s thesis advisor, said, “Jacob’s thesis has the potential to help farmers improve their efficiency and become more profitable.”
The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/19071.