← Back to the schedule

Ensuring sustainable food production

Calendar icon

Thursday 15th

Time icon

15:20 | 16:00

Location icon

Theatre 18


Keywords defining the session:

- Precision farming

- AI

- Big Data

Takeaway points of the session:

- Big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) changing the face of agriculture

- Making the world of farming a more predictable and safe place


Farming has and will always be a field where decisions are made from a mixture of knowledge, experience, and gut-feeling. Digitalization provides the farmer the ability to more accurately predict the outcomes as well as most effectively respond to Mother Nature’s ever-reoccurring challenges. This new world is allowing farmers to act and react significantly faster – at the speed of “now” – as patterns and changes can be recognized at the finest level of detail. It gives the grower the opportunity to more precisely predict the impact of his or her actions such as, choice of seed variety, application rate of crop protection products, or harvest timing. This makes risk management of the farm a much easier task for Bayer’s customer, along with the chance to improve profitability in a sustainable way.

Weeds that damage crops have been a problem for farmers since farming began. A proper solution is to apply a narrow spectrum herbicide that effectively kills the exact species of weed in the field while having as few undesirable side effects as possible. But to do that, farmers first need to accurately identify the weeds in their fields.

When the Bayer Digital Farming team began working on the problem in 2014, there were no technical solutions available. The company devised an approach based on building a large database of weed photos, which an application would use to identify specific weeds from photos farmers would take with their phones and send to Bayer.

Bayer proceeded to use Talend Real-time Big Data to help develop WEEDSCOUT, a new, big data application farmers could download free. The app uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to match photos of weeds in a Bayer database with weed photos farmers send in. Accessible all over the world, the photo database resides on a private cloud stored on Amazon Web Services (AWS).