THE concept of increased data sharing among farmers may enable breakthroughs in research or allow farmers to better analyse their own data sets.
Speaking at last week’s Innovation Generation conference in Adelaide, Kaniva, Victoria, farmer Jonathan Dyer said ideas such as the Farmers Business Network (FBN), a farmer-driven data collection and analytics service in the US, could have merit in Australia.
The FBN model works on a put-in, take-out model, for instance if you contribute data on rainfall you can access the meteorological data or if you put in yield data by variety you can look up the variety results.
“It seems to be a good means of getting objective, unbiased data,” Mr Dyer said.
Richard Heath, of the Australian Farm Institute, also speaking at IG, said there was better value in cumulative data than simple farm by farm records.
“A data co-operative model can work,” he said.
He said an analytics team at a co-op was critical to unlocking the value of the data.
“Data has to be given to those who can interpret it and turn it into knowledge,” he said. “The raw data alone is not enough.”
He said allowing researchers to access large data sets could help various sectors of Australia’s grains industry, such as grain breeders or machinery manufacturers.