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Data Pyramid: How to Make Your Data Work For You

Data pyramid
Data pyramid
Dr. Allan Gray's Pyramid of Data

Dr. Allan Gray, executive director of Purdue’s agribusiness program, shared his thoughts on data management with the Landus Cooperative board and executive team last week. Here are his thoughts:

It seems everything on the farm collects data. From the harvest data in your combine to a photo you snap with your cell phone and send to your agronomist. Here are four stages to making your data work for you. 

High Volume Data: Rows and rows of numbers from your yield monitor is just data. You can’t make heads or tails of it and its worthless on its own. 

Add Information: Creating context for your data. This step promotes targeted investigation. A yield map shows you information in different areas of the farm. It is pretty but not necessarily useful on its own. 

Add Insights: Creating value from your data means identifying a range of options for that data. You can start to create business implications from comparing data year to year or against the data of others. 

Recommendations: It may take a lot of data, maps and insights to narrow down your information into an actionable step. At this stage, however, you can measure success. 

Before you get in the field this spring, gather up those thumb drives and old maps and share them with your Field Sales Agronomists to collect insights and make recommendations to help you meet your goals. 

Dr allan gray copyright morning ag clips
Dr. Allan Gray, Copyright Morning Ag Clips

Gray noted the key is to focus on innovation and technology adoption at the farm level that does the following:

  • Increases Productivity – maximize the productivity of every asset. This is an insights pyramid problem. Digitization of everything on the farm is how you get to the top of the insights pyramid.
  • Improves Sustainability – technologies/practices that focus on soil health, animal health, water quality, and air quality. These are sensible technologies that help us drive productivity responsibly.

"This is being required of us by society in the broadest sense," Gray said. "We should lead this revolution with smart technology, best practices, diligent measurement, and transparency. "