Cargill has invested in Agriness, a Brazilian farm management software program focused on pig farms with more than 2 million sows in Latin America managed using its platform.
Launched in 2001, Agriness is a cloud-based, IoT-enabled digital farm production management platform that will provide real-time data and insights through a series of business applications, environmental sensors, voice recognition, advanced analytics, and a mobile-based application.
Farmers and farm integrators can track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the number of piglets per sow, piglet weight gain, how well the piglets and sows are performing and production cost per animal. Through analysis of these KPIs, farmers can quickly pinpoint performance issues and improve them. Management can also identify the root cause of problems and solve them more precisely, including sending a technical adviser to work directly with the farmer to make improvements.
The deal follows Cargill’s investment in computer vision technology for the dairy industry Cainthus in January this year, and the launch of its own digital tools for the livestock industries including Dairy Enteligen, Poultry Enteligen, and iQShrimp last year.
Cargill has ambitions for its digital livestock tech portfolio to collaborate with one another and has specific plans for the new cloud-based platform — Agriness 365 — to start serving the dairy, and poultry industries within two years.
“In Brazil, many of the integrated producers are either poultry and swine, or swine and dairy and one of our primary goals together [with Agriness] is to grow their technology across species,” SriRaj Kantamneni, managing director of Cargill Digital Insights told AgFunderNews.
Agriness’s experience interacting with farmers and encouraging technology adoption will be particularly valuable in this expansion process and was a strength that particularly appealed to the Cargill team. In its earliest days, Agriness’ founders, who are both from farming families, were helping pig farmers to buy computers in an effort to boost farm prosperity, according to Everton Gubert, co-founder and CEO, Agriness
“One of the things that really impressed us about Agriness was their experience and understanding of how to get farmers to digitize when many might not be thinking about digitization or even understanding what it is,” said Scott Ainslie, vice president and group director, Cargill Animal Nutrition. “It’s really in their DNA to understand that change curve, and an interesting capability.”
“Their market share really speaks to that ability to understand customer needs, which they’ve developed over the last 17 years,” added Kantamneni.
Cargill has surveyed other digital technologies for the swine industry but none had the market penetration that Agriness did — it serves 90% of Brazil’s pig farms. The company also has a presence in Colombia and Argentina already and will continue to build on its Latin American business with the help of Cargill’s network.
“While Agriness is not the only company doing what they do, they are one of very few that has market penetration. We also have aligned values and culture and I know we can quickly take their learnings and experience over the last 17 years and apply them to poultry and dairy; pretty quickly we can make that pivot to really bring this platform to life,” said Kantamneni.
Financial details of the minority equity investment were not disclosed.