Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication

Bringing Open-Source Tools to Farmers

What is OATS?


What is the purpose of OATS?

The Purdue University Open Agricultural Technologies and Systems Center (OATS) hopes to improve the way farmers use agricultural technologies. Farmers already collect endless amounts of data every day that could help them, but there is not yet an effective way for them to use this data at its full potential.

Leading the effort is Dennis Buckmaster, professor of agricultural and biological engineering.

"The goal is to build a community around open-source methods and increase the integration of data in agriculture," Buckmaster said.

This does not mean anyone will be able to access a farmer’s personal data on crops. It simply means the codes used to interpret that data will be made available.

How will OATS bring potential benefits to agriculture?

The OATS program has the potential to bring economic and environmental benefits to agriculture. One promising example is using data to let farmers know when they need to irrigate.

Farmers are already gathering information about their crops. An open-source application could help farmers know when a crop needs water. With that, the famer can decide when to irrigate and how much to irrigate. Farmers could only irrigate when they needed to — saving them money and saving resources.

About Visionaries

This video is part of the Visionaries series, which highlights the work and lives of researchers in the Purdue University College of Agriculture. Visionaries is a collaboration with Envision magazine.

Read out a related Envision story about phenotyping and agricultural technology, "The Big Idea - Phenotyping"

Learn more about OATS

Other Visionaries videos about Dennis Buckmaster and OATS

What Is the Open-Source Mindset?

The Extension Spirit Guides Open-Source Thinking

Using Technology to Improve Farming Operations

See the complete playlist on our YouTube channel

The videos were created by the student filmmakers of YDAE 491 (Digital Storytelling), part of the agricultural communication program in the Purdue Department of Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication.

The team members for this video are: Caitlin Yoder (leader for this video), Danae Baskin, Courtney Maxwell, and Khyleigh North.