FRESNO, Calif. (June 22, 2015)—Agrian, Inc. has been a leader in the development of a much-needed industry standard for agronomic labs to use when collecting, measuring and reporting field sample data and analytics. The Open Modus Standard provides the industry with a single, unified format for data management and exchange that can be used across Farm Management Information Systems (FMIS) in support of precision agriculture.
Several laboratories serving the Canadian agricultural industry are currently in the process of adopting the Open Modus Standard. Agvise Laboratories, A&L Canada Laboratories, ALS, Down to Earth Labs and Exova are among the labs implementing the new standards for measurement terms, lab submission and result reporting templates and other components of the Open Modus Standard.
Chad Matthies, Canadian business manager at Agrian, said the rapid growth of precision ag services, including field sampling and results reporting, has increased the urgency for a unified industry standard that helps crop consultants, ag retailers and growers leverage data more efficiently.
“Agronomists and growers are embracing the opportunity to capture more precise, micro-level data to optimize soil, nutrient and nematode management because the result is often increased yields and cost savings,” said Matthies. “But the absence of an industry standard for lab submissions, measurement parameters and reports has been a real problem and limited the application of that data across different mapping, equipment and other Field Management Information Systems.”
The Open Modus Standard represents nutrient and chemical analysis (soil and tissue), water analysis (irrigation and water quality), soil physical characteristics, and nematode and soil amendment (manure, compost, waste, etc.) residue sampling. The coalition of industry representatives working on Open Modus envisions the need for ongoing additions or updates as future data and lab procedure innovations are introduced.
In 2013, a team of industry leaders from agronomy labs, FMIS providers, academia and data management assembled to collaborate on a solution. Chris Langford, senior vice-president with A&L Laboratories in the U.S., was part of the working group that developed Open Modus Standard.
“There has been an overwhelming need for an industry standard for agronomic data reporting and exchange,” said Langford. “There are literally hundreds of submission and reporting formats out there and making them work together, or re-formatting the data so it works with other programs, takes an inordinate amount of time. It’s incredibly inefficient for everyone.”
Langford noted that for the industry to truly leverage “Big Data” in an efficient, productive manner that’s beneficial to all and easy for farmers to send to seed and mapping companies, there must be common standards for effective data exchange.
“Especially as we look to dramatically increase the amount of data collected,” added Langford. “We fully anticipate that soil sampling frequency will increase and sampling areas will tighten. So instead of every five acres, we’ll be sampling every two acres. Agrian’s leadership in expediting the development of a standard, and bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to get it done, was a great service to the industry and makes precision ag more of a reality than a concept.”
The new standard also has support from leading ag retailers and FMIS providers, which are preparing their systems for compatibility with data provided to them in the Open Modus Standard reporting format.
Nishan Majarian, Agrian’s co-founder and CEO said the effort to develop Open Modus Standard was collaborative and inclusive. “The realization of the need for and potential benefits of an industry standard has been very strong,” he said. “With the current state of fragmentation data trending and roll-up has been challenging, to say the least. Having a standard method to represent and transfer field sample information from testing labs to FMIS is a crucial step forward.”
In addition to Agrian and A&L Laboratories, the Modus Project includes representatives from Agrium, A&L Laboratories Great Lakes, Agricultural Laboratory Proficiency program at the University of Colorado, Best-Test Analytical Services, Crop Production Services, Midwest Laboratories, Precision Agri-Lab, ServiTech Labs, Topcon Precision Agriculture and Wilbur-Ellis Company to name a few.
Founded in 2004, Agrian Inc. offers the most integrated solution to the growing demand for information addressing food safety, environmental concerns, traceability, sustainability, and locally and organically grown food. The company’s flagship products include Agrian Advisor and Documented Advisor; Agrian Grower and Documented Grower; Agrian Applicator and Documented Applicator; and Agrian Handler and Compliance Handler. For more information, please call 559-437-5700 or visit agrian.com