What does blockchain mean to farmers and others in the agricultural industry? Let's get to know what can blockchain do for agricultural data.
A blockchain represents encrypted records (databases) linked together (ordered) and shared (distributed) with groups. Everyone in the group has a copy of all records, and they are stored sequentially; this means that each new record is connected to the previous record like a link in the chain. A "block" consists of encrypted information that one wants to store securely, a link to the previous block, and the date and time it was created.
"This structure makes it nearly impossible to forge once recorded in the chain, as it does not match the distribution copy on the chain, and each block has a link to the previous block, all the way to the original block, to ensure that Nothing was added or removed."
If someone tries to change the record, the summaries contained in subsequent blocks will no longer match, indicating that something has changed. “If someone tries to add or remove an entire block, everyone in the group has their own copy of the entire chain, so it’s easy to identify any copies that don’t match the rest of the group.”
In agriculture, the main use of blockchain so far is for product traceability. “This represents a logical application of database/ledger technology. To enable traceability, people at the receiving end of the supply chain need a way to quickly and easily verify what happened to products throughout the supply chain.”
In theory, according to ADC, a blockchain could record when and where a particular crop variety was grown, fertilizers applied, plant protection products used, when crops were harvested, and where in the field. All information about warehousing transportation, reprocessing and final distribution to store shelves can be recorded as other links in the chain.
High-value crops that have a more pressing need for traceability are already doing so. Walmart announced last year that they would require all leafy green vegetable suppliers to implement a blockchain system. ADC says the need for the technology is twofold: First, consumers increasingly want to know more about where their food comes from, and how it's grown and processed. Implementing blockchain can provide consumers with this information so they can learn about their vegetables at Walmart.
Second, more on the food safety side, blockchain could allow health issues to be dealt with faster and more accurately. In past outbreaks of E. coli or Salmonella, tracing the source and determining which products were actually contaminated was a time-consuming and laborious task. Not only does this cause more people to get sick, but it is also very expensive, causing a lot of product to be thrown away simply because it cannot be proven that it is not contaminated with germs.
From Walmart's research experience, the current paper-based system takes about seven days to track the entire supply chain. When leveraging blockchain, they were able to reduce the turnaround time to 2.2 seconds.
According to ADC, "mixing" issues can be one of the most obvious barriers to traceability when dealing with produce. When a farmer dumps 1,000kg of grain into a barn with 1.2 million kg of grain, traceability is lost because now 1,000kg of grain is mixed with grain from farms across the country.
This results in varying degrees of traceability; if the detailed origin of the crop needs to be known, the crop needs to be specially treated to maintain its identity, but at the cost of increased costs. For those with a rough idea of the crop's origin, no major changes to current storage and handling practices may be sufficient.
ADC emphasized that farm data is one of the issues that needs to be addressed before blockchain can be widely implemented. “Anyone who has worked in precision farming knows that it is not uncommon to see a corn yield map showing an average yield of 1630kg. This low yield was not due to any weather or field conditions, but human error, not putting the monitor The crop type identification on the machine is changed to soybean. Because when entering the actual crop variety loaded into the machine, it is most likely to press the wrong button and make a low-level error.”
Additionally, each farm machine or terminal has its own file format, which makes it quite difficult to access and share the complete record of a given farm. The industry needs to start working on taking the next step and standardizing the meaning of different data elements. For example, one farm terminal might show the crop "corn" while another terminal has "corn", does that mean they mean the same thing, grain? feed? or round package? When using blockchain technology, we want to start bridging the gap between different data formats and "speaking the same language", we need to ensure that when a term is used, we all mean the same thing.
As technology improves access to data, farms should play a leading role in providing this information and connecting end consumers far from agricultural production. Ensuring that data is accurately recorded and includes all relevant information is a relatively easy first step. This not only helps to create the accurate data needed to be recorded in the blockchain, but also facilitates subsequent operational analysis. Hypothetically, without accurate records of the varieties planted, it would be difficult to use the data to analyze which hybrids perform best in a particular soil type.
There is also added value in the data recorded by farmers' machines today, ADC said: "Consumers are pushing food processors/industry to learn more about where their food comes from." This is a great opportunity for agriculture to highlight Doing everything to ensure the quality of the product and being responsible for the production process of the product is undoubtedly the best way to establish and highlight your own brand.