UPDATED Sep 9 to add comments from CNH Industrial
This comes after the companies formed a partnership to give Case IH farm equipment owners access to AgDNA’s AI-enabled technology platform in September 2018, which is aimed at helping commercial crop producers increase profits.
AgDNA CEO and cofounder Paul Turner wrote about the partnership on AFN at the time — read it here.
Under the agreement, the two entities will combine their capabilities to develop a farm management information software that will be commercialized from Q4 2019 onwards, according to the press release, perhaps referencing the work the pair started on designing ClearVU, the “next-generation farm management software platform” referenced in Turner’s article.
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According to a press release, the new platform puts together a wide range of agronomic data streams, including crop prices and weather information, consolidating it all into a single platform. CNH called the investment part of its “long-term roadmap to enhance and extend its precision farming offering.”
CNH’s upcoming platform aims to untangle the problem presented by an increasing amount of data from the farm. On your average every-day modern farm, soil sensors, monitors and paperwork abound. And as more processes hop on the digital train, that means more numbers to crunch… and also keep track of.
CNH’s spokesperson said that buying AgDNA will enable it to “accelerate the development of its digital data management solutions,” as part of its “long-term roadmap to enhance and extend its precision farming offering.”
“Compared to today’s conventional farming practices, we expect to enable some 20% productivity gains throughout the entire crop cycle in all key application types: Fleet, Field, and Farm,” added Laura Overall, the company’s global corporate communications manager.
AgDNA’s CEO and cofounder, Paul Turner highlighted the importance of joint ventures for startups in the sector in his editorial for AFN in September 2018, after the farm data management platform first linked up with CNH Industrial.
“Startups who partner across the industry have the advantage of collecting the required data regardless of brand,” he wrote. “This allows for a more complete picture of the farm and an unbiased analysis of the information to deliver the optimum result for the grower. We believe startups will continue to have an advantage in the AI space given the reliance on data for machine learning purposes.” Agriculture digging into tech
Timeline: Recent digital Acquisitions by Ag corporates
Another large ag corporate acquired a digital agtech startup last week; Syngenta bought Cropio, a crop health monitoring system, a year after buying Strider in Brazil. But that cadence is rare as acquisitions by the majors have been few and far between. The most recent notable acquisitions before then included two $300 million deals. In the summer of 2017, John Deere snapped up robotics startup Blue River Technologies, while DuPont bagged Granular.
But what remains the main purpose for these acquisitions? For Swiss-headquartered Syngenta, it was not only to mark a shift in its digital strategy for agriculture, but cement its position as the only ag corporate with access to leading management platforms in the world’s top four markets. The purchase of Cropio gave it a stronghold in Eastern Europe, adding to its digital repertoire in the US with AgConnection’s Land.db, a digital footprint in Brazil with Strider and China with the Modern Agricultural Platform.
Syngenta said the Cropio acquisition marks a ‘turning point for its digital strategy for agriculture’ with “significant opportunities for collaboration across other Syngenta digital assets,” according to the company’s chief information and digital officer, Greg Meyers
For CNH, it’s a similar story as company CEO Hubertus Mühlhäuser called the acquisition of AgDNA of ‘further evidence of CNH’s continuing investment in digital farming’.
Why have there been so few acquisitions by the major agribusinesses? Know of an upcoming acquisition that’s coming up?
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