Bayer’s Crop Science Division is increasing its precision agriculture capability through the acquisition of a digital plant health diagnosis and infection warning business and by reaching an agreement with an atmospheric and geographical location information platform.
The German multinational company has bought proPlant Gesellschaft für Agrar- und Umweltinformatik, based at Münster in Germany’s North-Rhine Westphalia region. The business, a spin-off from the Institute for Geoinformatics at Münster University, will henceforth operate as the easier to spell Bayer Digital Farming.
Under its new name, the company will continue to develop and market agricultural IT packages for European agriculture, building on its range of optimisation applications for plant protection across almost all the major arable crops. Andree-Georg Girg, previously global crop manager oilseeds at Bayer is now managing director of Bayer Digital Farming. Some of proPlant’s activities not required by Bayer will transfer to a new business established by its partners, proPlant Agrar- und Umweltinformatik, with Thomas Volk as managing director.
“The acquisition of proPlant will extend our technology platform, on the basis of which we are developing new digital solutions for sustainable, resource-efficient agricultural production,” states Liam Condon, head of the Crop Science Division. “Digitalization can give farmers timely, field-specific information, from selecting the right crop varieties and finding the right fertilizer dose as accurately as possible through to determining the ideal time for crop protection measures and recognizing plant stress factors at an early stage.”
At the same time, Bayer has entered into an agreement with California-based Iteris over the use of its ClearAg platform that provides timely, high-resolution atmospheric and land surface information.
The ClearAg weather and soil applications, combined with Bayer’s field data collection and expert crop knowledge, will enable Crop Science to deliver insights into how agronomy, product performance and farm management practices can improve crop efficiency and farm business results.
“We look forward to assisting Bayer as it launches a next-generation digital farming platform that empowers growers - large and small - with access to key analytical information for data-driven decisions that improve productivity,” says Tom Blair, senior vice president of performance analytics at Iteris. “Our premium atmospheric and land surface information complements Bayer’s strengths in agronomy and crop protection. The power of ClearAg, when combined with Bayer’s expertise, will translate into a robust combination of decision support services for growers throughout the world.”
Bayer says it intends to strengthen its digital farming capability through further strategic investments, as well as long-term R&D collaborations with leading technology providers. Last year it purchased the Zoner geoinformation system from Canada’s IntelMax. This gives it a software platform to evaluate and make graphic representations of satellite images of selected agricultural areas of Canada, the US, Brazil, France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia taken over a 30-year period.