4 min read
The quiet revolution of data and analytics in agriculture
As AGRITECHNICA 2023—the world’s leading trade fair for agricultural machinery—makes a triumphant return after nearly four years, over 450,000 attendees from 130 countries will come together to witness the latest and greatest agriculture innovations firsthand. However, not all of these breakthrough innovations take up large exhibition spaces. Some are quietly revolutionizing the industry through data and analytics, equipping farmers with tools for smarter, data-driven decision-making.
These data-driven tools—including transformative AI that is reshaping industries—depend on clean, unified data. That’s why we announced Microsoft Azure Data Manager for Agriculture in March 2023, a data platform that leverages industry-specific data connectors and capabilities to connect and unify farm data from disparate sources. With Azure Data Manager for Agriculture, organizations can leverage high-quality datasets for digital agriculture solutions, allowing customers and partners to focus on product innovation rather than data management.
Today, alongside Bayer at the AGRITECHNICA 2023 conference, we’re thrilled to announce the latest updates to Azure Data Manager for Agriculture that are ushering in an era of AI in agriculture.
A growing ecosystem of partners and data with Microsoft Fabric integrations
To start, Azure Data Manager for Agriculture is evolving to include new integrations with Microsoft Fabric. This begins with the inclusion of Microsoft Fabric Data Factory, bringing cloud-scale data movement and transformation to agriculture-specific scenarios. Now, third-party data partners can build connectors to ingest data from more sources into a unified database. Leveraging these Fabric integrations, Microsoft and our partners are expanding Azure Data Manager for Agriculture with more agriculture-specific connectors and capabilities so that insights are no longer limited by specific data types and sources.
We’ve also built connector patterns that others can use as references and expanded the common data model to incorporate geospatial data, making more data integrations seamless and efficient. Given the importance of the ability to search through time and space when looking at observation data, geospatial ground truth data has been elevated to a first-class component.
We are also excited to expand support for Bayer’s Climate FieldView as a built-in data source. Once initiated by a farmer, Azure Data Manager for Agriculture provides a straightforward path to retrieving both historic and up-to-date activity files, from which further aggregated insights can be derived. Users can leverage auto-sync planting, application, and harvest activity files from Climate FieldView accounts directly into Azure Data Manager for Agriculture.
Microsoft and Bayer: Leveraging generative AI to enable interaction with data through language
But it doesn’t stop at data. We believe access to insights and data should be more interactive, intuitive, and entirely human-centric. Imagine, as a farmer, being able to simply ask the question: “Which fields had rain last night?” or “How many acres have been harvested?” and receiving a precise and accurate answer, immediately.
With new large language model APIs in Azure Data Manager for Agriculture, generative AI in agriculture is now a reality. The large language model APIs enable the seamless retrieval of data mapped to farm operations, sensors, weather, and imagery so that farming-related context and insights can be queried in a conversational context. These capabilities enable others to build their own agriculture copilots that deliver insights to customers and farmers about disease, yield, labor needs, harvest windows, and more—leveraging actual planning and observational data.
Bayer is the first partner bringing these large language model capabilities to life with a copilot for agriculture. In its early stages, Bayer is presenting an agriculture copilot and testing multiple scenarios with internal teams to discover where large language model capabilities can add value through the ability to interact with agronomic data using natural language.
The Bayer copilot for agriculture is a querying system that helps end users like dealers and farmers get actionable insights from their farm and environment data. Users ask the AI-powered chatbot about different scenarios and the copilot provides accurate responses almost instantly.
Building on a foundation of innovation
Azure Data Manager for Agriculture has already enabled incredible evolutions in Agriculture with partners like Accenture, Bayer, and Land O’Lakes.
By integrating disparate data sources and streamlining them into a unified interface, Accenture’s Farm of the Future empowers farmers to track and manage their sustainability initiatives more effectively. Built on Microsoft Azure Data Manager for Agriculture, the solution provides comprehensive oversight of a farm’s sustainability practices. Advanced analytics deliver actionable insights that help farmers optimize resource allocation, minimize environmental impact, and maximize overall agricultural productivity and profitability.
Bayer’s Climate FieldView platform uses Azure Data Manager for Agriculture’s satellite and weather pipelines and common data model to enable insights on potential yield-limiting factors in growers’ fields. Thanks to Microsoft Azure Data Manager for Agriculture, Bayer can remain focused on building intelligent solutions for growers, rather than investing time and resources in data management.
Land O’Lakes is using Azure Data Manager for Agriculture to reduce time spent on data integrations, thereby cutting down engineering efforts and costs.
“Our job is to bring all the information together to make sense of it. Azure Data Manager for Agriculture is helping us do that.”Tom Ryan, President at Truterra, the sustainability division of Land O’Lakes
Land O’Lakes data scientists are now able to derive better insights through comprehensive analytics and intelligent modeling—ultimately supporting more efficient, sustainable farming.
Learn more about our agriculture solutions
If you’re interested in learning more about our commitment to innovation in agriculture, come visit us at Bayer’s booth (Hall 8, Booth C15) at AGRITECHNICA 2023 in Hanover, Germany the week of November 12 to 18, 2023. We’ll be presenting several sessions, including:
- November 12, 2023—Recent advancements in large language modelling applied to agriculture
Learn how AI technology can be applied to agriculture through an improved and efficient enhancement to analytics processing—offering increased insights at the speed of a question. This session will discuss what’s available today and what the near-term future holds.
- November 13, 2023—Advancements in technology targeting the Agriculture and food value chain
Hear various organizational perspectives about recent advancements in agriculture that support data interoperability, improved transparency across agricultural value chains, accelerated farm and food innovation, and the partnerships driving this change.
For additional information, visit the Microsoft Azure Data Manager for Agriculture website. The future is bright, as generative AI and other analytics solutions enable insights around optimizing resource allocation, minimizing environmental impact, maximizing agricultural productivity, and much more.