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I drink skim milk, occasionally pay $5 for a specialty cup of coffee and am a loyal consumer of organic vanilla bean granola. Growing up in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota, the only time I stepped foot on a farm was to get lost in a corn maze.
Blog Update
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If you have been keeping up with the Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders, you know that we are seasoned globe trotters. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration but we have experienced many facets of agriculture this summer. From Africa to Washington D.C., we’ve learned a lot of food security.

The data-driven farm

Posted by Teddy Bekele, Mon, July 11

 

 

You wouldn’t really think IT plays a pivotal role in feeding the world. But we do. And it’s among the reasons we engage students from a variety of educational backgrounds to become Emerging Leaders in the Global Food Challenge program to help us solve technical challenges, generate new ideas and tell the story of the work of feeding 9.6 billion people.

 

We use the latest cloud advancements and big data technologies to efficiently capture, ingest and analyze data from multiple sources arming farmers with the real-time data they need to make more informed decisions. Better farming decisions translate to larger yield potential using fewer resources.

 

In 2050, the world's population will require farms to feed upwards of 10 billion people. This means one farmer will need to feed 250 people. That’s 61 percent more than a farmer feeds today.

 

From when to plant seeds, to where and how much to water and fertilize, farmers have always been faced with a litany of decisions.

 

Up to recent times, farmers made decisions during their crop’s growing cycle largely off intuition. In the last decade, WinField has been on a journey to help farmers and their trusted advisors make data-driven decisions to optimize. Both Answer Plot® locations and the Winfield Spray Analysis System are great examples of conducting applied research trials and collecting data to identify trends and insights.

 

Technology investments are also a big component of this strategy as we utilize the latest technological innovations to deliver insights to our customers. And it’s here that the WinField Information Technology (IT) team plays a critical role.

 

Traditionally IT has been known to manage the technical infrastructure and deploy office productivity tools. IT also designs, configures and deploys all the applications that run the core operations of the business. Which is where our work in farmers’ fields come in.

 

For WinField, we help manage applications like Unity Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Oracle Transportation Management (OTM), web sites, marketing platforms and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. And WinField IT finds itself in a unique position where the team is also responsible for the architecture and development of tools that deliver agronomic insights. These tools include the R7® seed placement tool, the NutriSolutions® tissue sampling app, the Field Forecasting crop modeling system, the Answer Tech® software distribution portal and, most recently, a cloud-based data management solution also known as the WinField Data Silo.

 

The stakes are high, but new technological advancement in cloud, big data, Internet of Things (IOT) and augmented reality are enabling a new generation of growers to revolutionize modern farming.

 

 

 

About the Author:

 In his role as Vice President, IT Winfield, Teddy serves as the Business CIO and provides full IT management and leadership responsibilities, including strategy development, innovation, project execution, system support, and financial planning. Prior to joining Land O’Lakes and WinField, Teddy spent 13 years at Ingersoll-Rand in numerous IT, engineering, and supply chain roles, including Director of Program Management, Director of Innovation & Engineering Technology, and Custom Software Development Manager. Teddy holds an MBA from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University.