Technology Is Changing Ag Suppliers and Companies

John Deere’s recent acquisition of Blue River Technology (BRT) isn’t just meaningful for farmers. It suggests that the very systems that agriculture uses to deliver crop protection products are undergoing another convulsive change.

Kiersten Stead of Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV), an investor in BRT, told AgFunder News: “This is the start of the next chapter in agriculture.”

If indeed BRT’s “See & Spray” technology comes into more widespread use – as Deere presumably is banking on with its U.S. $300-million investment – consider the potential impacts.

For instance, will a combination of image recognition and machine learning to apply exacting amounts of herbicide directly to weeds lead to a decrease in the need for adjuvants? Will the total as-applied volume of herbicides fall? Will older chemistries that were knocked to the curb by herbicide-tolerant traits in the 1990s make a comeback?

Will See & Spray-type technologies become standard issue on sprayers? Will the timing of applications change, and with it, production systems themselves? Will the current issues surrounding glyphosate-resistant weeds and dicamba drift begin to fade away?

Not to mention that the environmental benefits of more ultra-precise application may be considerable. I visited BRT’s headquarters in California’s Silicon Valley last winter and toured the very garage where Heraud and his engineers “trained” See & Spray to begin distinguishing between crop leaves and weeds. “This is the way we should farm,” he told me then. “Chemicals are a useful tool, but we should use them only when we need them – to kill the weed.” The system is not yet perfect, but it’s getting there, and Deere’s considerable R&D heft should hasten its progress.

Heraud is scheduled to be a key presenter at the second annual PrecisionAg®Vision Conference, Oct. 10-12, 2017, in Phoenix, AZ, U.S., organized by Meister Media Worldwide and many of its media brands including AgriBusiness GlobalHis topic: “Automation, Robotics, and Machine Learning.”

Other Impacts on Crop Protection Application

Yet. See & Spray is but a small piece of precision agriculture’s current and anticipated impact on chemical application and – potentially – on the manufacture, formulation, and distribution of crop protection products. Consider a few other key developments:

  • In specialty crops, precision technologies including field cameras and Internet-of-Things connectivity are being used to prove the ROI of biological products including pheromones and mating disruptors. This may speed the adoption of biological products, likely at the expense of traditional chemicals.
  • AMVAC’s SIMPAS application equipment – now distributed globally by Trimble – can prescriptively apply multiple in-furrow dry and/or liquid products – insecticides, nematicides, fungicides, fertilizers, and/or biological products – while planting.
  • After years of focus on new ways of gathering field data (drones, satellites, sensors, etc.) and synthesizing and analyzing it (e.g., Climate’s FieldView), considerable attention has turned again to variable-rate application (VRA) of crop inputs. For instance, a long-running survey of precision services offered by ag retailers – conducted by Purdue University and CropLife®  magazine, a sister brand to AgriBusiness Global – found that VRA of fertilizer, lime, and seed has boomed over the last several years. At the same time, VRA of pesticides has languished – but will this change? After all, SIMPAS and See & Spray are just up-to-date versions of variable-rate chemical application.

All of these important developments and more will be on the table – and on the stage dais and at the podium – when hundreds of global agriculture leaders gather next month in Phoenix for the PrecisionAg Vision Conference. Discussions there could have an impact on global crop protection years down the road. For registration and conference information, go to PrecisionAgVision.com.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Americas

Africa/Middle East

Bayer Closes Monsanto Acquisition

Bayer successfully completed the acquisition of Monsanto on Thursday. Shares in the U.S. company will no longer be traded on

Africa/Middle East

Bayer Plans Closing of Monsanto Acquisition on June 7

Bayer plans to complete the acquisition of Monsanto on June 7, following the receipt of all required approvals from regulatory

Americas

Major GNSS Project to Boost Potential for ‘Satellite’ Farming in Brazil

The University of Nottingham is working with Brazilian and EU partners to solve atmospheric interference problems that hamper satellite-based positioning

Americas

Valagro to Build First U.S. Manufacturing Plant for Biostimulants

The 65,000-square-foot Orangeburg County, South Carolina facility is expected to come online in the third quarter of 2019.

Agrichemicals

China Plant Shutdowns Hurt Helm Results

The company said its Crop Protection business was faced with markets exhibiting weak growth momentum overall in 2017.

Americas

Latin American Ag Sector Sees Boon from Ties with China

Latin America’s agricultural sector, which over the past decade has benefited from rising consumer demand in China, is expected to

Brazil-Soybean-field
Americas

Embrapa, Corteva Agriscience Sign Agreement to Enhance the Sustainability, Competitiveness of Brazilian Farming

Embrapa, the research arm of Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, and Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont,

Americas

Highway Equipment Expands New Leader into Brazil

Highway Equipment Company (HECO), the manufacturer of New Leader crop nutrient applicators, recently announced its expansion into Brazil. The new

Agrichemicals

Sumitomo Launches Fungicide for Bananas

Rapid adoption of Powmyl is expected for Black Sigatoka control programs on banana plantations throughout Latin America.

Americas

STK, BASF in Deal to Expand Distribution in Brazil

STK will grant BASF exclusive rights to maket and sell the biological fungicide bactericide in the country.

Americas

Marrone Bio Innovations Enters Partnership with Israel’s Lidorr

Lidorr Chemicals Ltd., will develop and market three of MBI's products in Israel.

Americas

ADAMA to Launch Soybean Fungicide in Brazil

Global crop protection company ADAMA has announced that is ready to launch its distinctive fungicide, CRONNOS, in Brazil, the world’s

Americas

U.S. Farm Bill Draft Defines Plant Biostimulants for First Time

Definition is a critical step in the legislative process to support the development of new sustainable technologies for agriculture and U.S. farmers.

Agrichemicals

Talking Dicamba: Q&A with Heartland Co-Op’s Dave Coppess

Dave Coppess, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Heartland Co-op, West Des Moines, Iowa, chats about the company’s experience with dicamba-resistant cropping systems.

Americas

Syngenta Acquires Abbott & Cobb

Syngenta announced it agreed to acquire Abbott & Cobb, a U.S.-owned independent breeder, producer, and marketer of vegetable seeds.

Americas

In Trade War, U.S. Soy May Be Safe – Rabobank

As the trade dispute between China and the United States intensifies, China's dependency on U.S. soybeans may limit its ability to set tariffs, a new Rabobank report says.

Americas

Ag Software Firm Agrian Expands to Brazil

Since beginning in 2004 as a cloud-based record keeping system, Agrian has quickly expanded its digital capabilities to include a platform approach to help agronomists, growers, retailers, and food processors work collaboratively within one system.

Americas

Rise of Robotics: Q&A with Naïo Technologies CEO

One to watch in the growing agribotics niche is Naïo Technologies out of Toulouse, France.

Agrichemicals

U.S. Approves Bayer-Monsanto Merger – WSJ

The U.S. Justice Department has approved Bayer AG’s acquisition of Monsanto Co. after the companies pledged to sell off additional assets to secure government antitrust approval.

Latest News

Agrichemicals

BASF Registers New Active in India, Australia

The company anticipates further registrations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, and Argentina.

Asia

Valagro Launches Fertilizer Line in China

Valagro, an Italian supplier of biostimulants and other specialty nutrients, said it launched its water-soluble fertilizers, Master Supreme, to the Chinese market.

Agrichemicals

As Agchem Complexity Grows, Specialists Take Off Some of the Heat

Chemical companies increasingly are using specialist suppliers to outsource the process development and production of complex new molecules.

Precision Ag

Indigo Touts ‘New Approach to Agricultural R&D’

Indigo Research Partners uses a network of more than 50 of the largest U.S. growers to gather over a trillion data points daily from sensors, drones, weather stations, and other technologies.

Genetics

Scientists Introduce Simpler, Faster CRISPR

Gene editing just got easier, thanks to an international team of researchers.