For all of the various technologies being developed for the modern farm operation, how are growers supposed to know which are the right choices for them? Microsoft Azure Chief Scientist Ranveer Chandra has an interesting idea for a sort of farm simulator that allows farmers to model how various products and practices might play out.
Chandra… “The farmers need to know based on certain decisions they take in the farm, how might it impact their yield? How will it impact the revenue? This kind of what if analysis needs a good simulation platform. Bring in the different parameters in the simulator. Imagine a tool where a farmer can go and say, this is what I'm doing. What if I did this, this, and this. What's going to happen in the future? What if I practice reduced till? What if I tilled this part of the farm, but not this part of the farm? And we need those kinds of technology tools.”
Chandra says he doesn’t know of a product out there that is doing exactly this on the market currently, but they are exploring the idea.
Chandra… “In research we are exploring something like that. Where you can start doing what if analysis. We built a 3-D simulator of a farm. We integrated with process-based models. There's a model called APSIM. We are trying to make those models even better, but there are some tools out there which we're trying to bring together, run it to the cloud, run it at scale. So it becomes really easy for a grower to use.”
The farm of the future may include this ability to simulate various scenarios before the season even begins.