Many modern farms are as reliant on technology as manufacturing plants - breakdowns can be just at catastrophic. Techniques which have enabled some manufacturing plants to reduce maintenance costs by 40%*
can be applied to agriculture too. For Farmers
Farmers should have a preventative maintenance plan in place, which includes regular servicing, cleaning, and checks. Many farms will already be doing this, these farms will still be experiencing breakdowns.
This is because they are operating on imperfect information. Without analytics, preventative maintenance is little more than educated guess work. For agriculture to realise the same benefits being enjoyed by manufacturing, insights from big data analytics are required.
In order for this to happen, farms must be willing to share real-time data regarding on-farm operations and machinery performance with relevant organisations; something many farms have been historically unwilling to do.
Farmers are right to be protective of their data. Organisations they share it with should be vetted, but for agriculture to enjoy the same benefits as manufacturing, attitudinal change around data sharing is required For suppliers
Platforms like MyJohnDeere and AGCO Fuse are already collecting real-time data from on-farm operations. Sensor technology is already being deployed on combine harvesters to monitor yield, grain loss, load, and blockages. Yet these are not the only factors influencing the likelihood of machinery breakdown: crop, weather, soil type, elevation, and cultivation methods all play a part.
For predictive maintenance to become a reality, all of the relevant variables must be brought together in one place, held in the correct formats, and subjected to rigorous analysis. Much of this data is already available, but accessing it is resource intensive.
Agrimetrics is working to make this information more easily available. Innovative agri-tech organisations should take advantage. In terms of identifying pain-points, combine breakdowns during harvest are up there with the most excruciating; the afflicted will pay to be cured – and everyone will benefit.