Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Internet of Farm Yields - from Monsanto?

With Google's acquisition of Nest fresh in our minds, this article now makes even more alarming reading.

Apparently, Monsanto are offering farmers a system that can measure crop yields over their fields by following them around using GPS while monitoring the rate of harvest at each point they cross. All this gets pushed up into Monsanto's servers.

The farmer then gets the payback: an automated planting system that adjusts the amount and type of seed planted at each point in the field.

But of course, the farmers have trusted Monsanto with their field, planting and harvesting data and are letting the company control their planting in unprecedented detail.

I suppose I trust Google enough with my personal life - perhaps I'll learn to regret that - but if I were a farmer, would I trust Monsanto?

I was going to search for some juicy stories about their unethical tactics, but found that just searching for "Monsanto" alone threw up enough material.

Open & Local Farming

Obviously, it would be perfectly possible to do all of this in an "open and local, not proprietary and cloud" way.

The farmer would get all the above benefits, plus control and privacy, plus the benefits of being able to work with other local and global farmers and keen technologists to create systems that do much more than whatever Monsanto want.

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