This is the first of a two-part column that deals with data use in agriculture. The second part will appear next week.
Disruptive technology is a buzzword that is frequently thrown around in the high tech world these days.
It is technology that helps create a new market and eventually disrupts an existing market, displacing earlier technology.
Agriculture has depended on technology for growth in productivity. Previous disruptive technologies include the world’s first seed drill in 1733 and the first reaper and self polishing steel plow in 1937.
These innovations allowed farmers to plow, plant and harvest in a fraction of the time that was needed before their implementation. Agricultural productivity soared.
The replacement of horse power with tractor power was another disruptive technology.
By the start of the 20th century, giant steam engines allowed for large tracts of land to be farmed. Gas powered tractors with rubber tires followed, and by the 1940s, tractors outnumbered horses in North America. By 1960, rubber tired tractors had all but replaced horses.