‘Watson Decision Platform for agriculture’ will help farmers assess crop health

IBM, a leading computer manufacturer has introduced a platform for producers and other representatives of the agriculture industry. The company on 24 September introduced the ‘Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture’ that will help create electronic records for complete farm operations.

Mark Gildersleeve, Vice-President and head of business solutions with The Weather Company, an IBM property said “For producers, the information stored on Watson can serve many purposes, like providing marketing suggestion or assessing crop health”. He said “We want to gather all the data from machines, drones, satellites, farming practices and environmental sources into a field record. We then apply Watson’s artificial intelligence to that data to get insight.”

He further told that “A planter could point his smartphone at a crop with a disease on it, and Watson will identify the disease. We’re also using Watson with satellite imagery to understand which parts of a field are under stress.”

The Watson platform uses the data to make the farmers aware of probable or upcoming issues. Moreover, it can compile information from the local and futures grain markets. Producers can also get alerts regarding the best time to sell their crops.

Gildersleeve clarified that Watson is not a substitute for a farmer’s management team, rather is a platform that can help farmers and their advisors make good decisions. He also mentioned that “Over time Watson will be giving more recommendations but some decisions are best left to the grower and an agronomist. “Watson can help in recognizing a problem earlier, so the agronomist can make his recommendations earlier. We can’t take the agronomist out of farming.”

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