The world population is expected to grow by one billion in the next decade. Large agriculture companies are seeking to implement new technologies rapidly in order to minimize loss and meet increased food production demands.
Agriculture Giants Turn to Technology
One such technological pioneer is John Deere. The company’s trucks have long stood as a symbol of the quintessential farming experience, and its Farm Forward campaign shows what it anticipates that experience to look like in the near future.
The company’s line of Precision Agriculture Technology allows farmers to track what is going on in their fields up to the minute, and field histories over time. A new Operations Center feature allows the user to see their field remotely and ‘JDLink‘ receives information in real time from connected machinery.
John Deere also acquired the startup Blue River Technology in 2017. Blue River is seeking to create next-gen agriculture equipment. One of its greatest successes is See & Spray technology, which uses cameras and artificial intelligence to treat each plant on an individual level.
Eliminating Threats Through Tech
With 250 weed species that are now resistant to herbicides, this technology is crucial to eliminate the treatment of healthy plants that causes increased resistance. The identification of weeds is achieved through the same technology as facial recognition software. That information is provided to the farmer who can then tell the machine to treat, fertilize, and provide fungicide to each individual plant as needed, allowing farmers to lower herbicide costs by 90 percent.
Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2016, has also developed technology designed to provide farmers with its digital data in order to make more informed crop decisions. Climate Fieldview is one such option, created by the Monsanto-acquired Climate Corporation.
Cargill’s Dairy Enteligen provides a similar data-integration service, but for livestock.
Additionally, xarvio, acquired by BASF from Bayer in 2018, features a similar field manager service, but also offers a free mobile app called xarvio SCOUTING which allows the user to take a picture with his or her smartphone and the app then identifies plant disease and weeds, analyzes leaf damage, and displays nitrogen status.
In 2018, Syngenta, the hybrid of Novartis and Zeneca Agrochemicals, acquired FarmShots, which allows the same photograph-based information services, but on a larger scale through the use of satellite imagery.
Yara, the world’s leading supplier of mineral fertilizers for the agricultural industry, has a line of smart products that seek to ensure that each crop receives the exact right amount of fertilizer at the right time in order to save money and prevent harm to the environment. One of its sensors is a handheld device used to measure an individual plant’s nitrogen status. Another, the N-Sensor, mounts onto a tractor and adjusts the rate of fertilizer application as it crosses the field by taking into account scans on either side of the tractor in real time.
Help From Outside the Industry
Many large agricultural businesses that are not developing their own technology are investing in small companies that are, and this investment extends to companies not normally in the agricultural sphere.
Google notably invested in Abundant Robotics, which just this week announced a partnership with T&G Global, a prominent apple grower in New Zealand, to perform the world’s first commercial robotic apple harvest.
Investing in new agricultural technology is not only key to a company’s continued success in the industry, but also may be essential for the viability of the current world food system in the years to come.
For the latest news, videos, and podcasts in the Food & Beverage Industry, be sure to subscribe to our industry publication.
Follow us on social media for the latest updates in B2B!