Challenge | Animal Health in Agriculture
Wherever you shop, whatever your diet consists of, the fact remains that all of our food, from meat and dairy, to plants, nuts and grains, begins on a farm. However, like any industry, a number of challenges exist within agriculture. One major concern is crop and livestock health. Disease outbreaks and parasites can be detrimental to plants and animals. Managing unexpected outbreaks can be costly, and can even lead to loss of animals, products, and revenue. However, effective use of data can play a big role in mitigating damage caused by these challenges, and in some cases, can actually be preventative.
Solution | Technologies to Manage Agriculture Health
New data-driven technologies such as data visualization, machine learning and AI, can all be leveraged to help the agriculture industry better understand certain trends and patterns that can be used to predict, manage, and prevent threats to crop and livestock health. As a data-first company, Lixar has had the privilege of working on many projects that apply advanced predictive technologies that could be used to help keep our agriculture industry safe, healthy, and sustainable. In fact, Lixar has recently worked with an agriculture organization to look at a variety of business concerns, including animal health.
Visualizing Livestock Health
To begin, Lixar held a data discovery workshop, in which we spent time investigating how the organization’s existing data could be used to get a detailed look at the overall health of their livestock. It became clear that data visualization (data viz) would be the best way for the organization to leverage their data so that it could be better understood, and contribute meaningfully to decision-making processes.
Why Data Viz?
Data viz is the visual representation of information through the use of graphics, such as images and charts, that provide context and make clear connections between cause and effect. This leverages the human brain’s ability to process visual information at a faster rate than written information, thus making complex data far more accessible. Using modern business intelligence tools such as Microsoft Power BI, Lixar’s data viz specialists create interactive dashboards hosted in the cloud, so that data can be shared in real-time, across multiple locations.
In an agricultural context, the organization realized it could use data viz to track KPIs such as:
- Number of animals
- Average animal weight
- Living conditions (ie temperature, population, etc)
By tracking these various KPIs regarding animal health and living conditions, data viz could help identify potential factors for health patterns. It is a dynamic and interactive way of telling a story, allowing users to spot patterns and make connections that may otherwise go unnoticed. In viewing historical trends and tracking patterns that are emerging in real-time, the organization can gain knowledge that can be used to predict, prepare for, and prevent future problems.
When it comes to animal health, data-driven technologies can help the agriculture industry further understand the causes, predict future challenges, and mitigate the risk. This is the advantage of data — see the problem, address the problem. By leveraging the data, we can augment our vigilance in protecting the health of the food sources that feed our nation and our communities.
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