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How the Internet of Things is driving sustainability in the agriculture industry

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CEO, GrowSafe Systems

Over the next 30 years, the world’s ranchers and farmers are going to be called upon to double production on essentially the same land that we’ve been producing food on since the 1950s. GrowSafe Systems, a developer of research tools for livestock producers, is looking at ways to expand production through sustainability and using analytics.

Intensifying domestic production

In a recent interview, Alison Sunstrum, chief executive officer (CEO) at GrowSafe Systems, summed up how the organization is “trying to change the livestock industry one animal at a time.” 

“Intensifying crop and livestock systems to feed a growing world population under the constraints of limited land, water and natural resources and growing concerns about animal welfare, health and sustainability is disrupting agriculture,” Sunstrum says. 

According to Sunstrum, a GrowSafe application uses multiple sensors to collect data every second from identified animals and their environment. The novel data these systems collect enables measurement, monitoring and analysis of complex animal traits such as efficiency, growth, health, stress and adaptation. Collecting animal, plant and whole system interactions and making sense of this data in a secure, connected and more vertically integrated supply chain has led GrowSafe to look to advanced strategies for collecting, storing, analyzing and communicating data. 

“IBM is creating an Internet of Things community from research and development through to innovative partnering in the cloud space and advanced analytics,” Sunstrum says. “As a participant in this ecosystem, we’ll make smarter decisions, smarter farms and smarter ranches. For a small company, we are imagining a new world of connected possibilities. To our company, we think the Internet of Things means imagining everything is possible.” 

Broadening management internationally 

While GrowSafe Systems is not currently using IBM Maximo Asset Management solutions, the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA) is using Maximo. Check out this Asset and Facilities Management blog that discusses how Maximo provides traceability for 24 million live assets for Brazilian livestock producers. With expected revenue growth from foreign cattle exports to reach $5.5 billion in 2020, traceability is also important to CNA. 

Whether monitoring sick cattle, feed schedules, inoculations or adherence to government regulations, ranchers need to have a system that helps them monitor maintenance and analyze the historical data of maintenance schedules to strive for a highly predictive approach to ranching and agriculture. Find out more about IBM Asset Management solutions and other IBM Internet of Things solutions