Advances in high technology in agriculture bring new terminology to describe innovations. Here’s a quick reference guide to selected terms in this new vernacular.

Bioinformatics (computational biology)– using biological data to develop mathematical algorithms to study biological systems

Crop Model– Computerized tool using algorithms to predict crop performance based on agronomic and environmental data

Data analytics– examining data to draw conclusions

Digital agriculture– farming activities that depend on the collection, use and analysis of data (includes precision agriculture)

Genome– the full set of genetic instructions of an organism (coded in DNA)

Genome editing– a type of genetic engineering in which DNA is deleted, replaced or inserted, resulting in a genetically modified animal, plant or organism (GMO) with a desired trait such as drought resistance, improved nutritional value or faster rate of gain

Metadata– information that provides details about data (such as method and time of collection, and by whom)

Phenotype– physical characteristics of an organism resulting from its genes an environment

Predictive phenomics– measuring physical and biochemical traits of organisms as they change in response to genetic and environmental influences

Precision agriculture– hardware and software tools that give farmers better control to customize management of specific sites (auto-steer, yield monitors, variable rate machinery)

Remote sensing– the process of gathering data from a distance without making contact with the subject

Ultrasonics– the use of acoustic vibrations to improve materials and industrial processes

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)– lightweight quadcopters (informally known as drones) used for data collection, transmitting remote-sensing data, photos or videos that allow operators to study or make more precise management decisions on large swaths of land