The rise of a digital agriculture platform

The climate corporation, a subsidiary of agriculture giant Monsato is on its journey towards building the “Amazon of farmers”. Will they be able to achieve this goal?

The climate corporation, a subsidiary of agriculture giant Monsato is on its journey towards building the “Amazon of farmers” according to CEO Hugh Grant. Its goal is to help farmers around the world upgrade their capabilities to operate in a digital world and maximize efficiencies per acre.

In 2015, it launched the Climate FieldView platform with the aim of making it a one stop shop for farmers’ field data storage, management, and analytics. Since then it has expanded significantly, becoming the best-connected platform in the farming world, with over 100,000 users and more than 120 million acres covered (2016 data). Its main markets are the US, Brazil and Canada.

Farmers who use the platform witness significant productivity enhancements. With key data captured by the system (such as planting and hybrid population, important harvest information), coupled with tailored insights provided by Fieldview, farmers are able to take calculated and precise decisions, and navigate easily variability in the field. Specific agronomic solutions are developed, and crop yields are enhanced significantly. As one farmer says: “Each season, I conduct several field trials with varying populations in beans and corn. FieldView Drive helped me better understand the response between one field trial and another through side-by-side comparison of yield maps”

Using Fieldview is very simple leading to mass adoption rates with limited needs for on-boarding and training . With a seamless transmission of field data, into the cloud and the farmers personal devices farmers are able to monitor data in real time and run optimization experiments. The same farmer mentioned earlier witnessed that :“The portability of being able to view data from multiple pieces of equipment on one iPad was fantastic. This allowed me to easily share data with my son and compare maps to identify and get ahead of potential issues in the field. I’m really looking forward to using FieldView Drive and FieldView Plus again this year, especially as I build a plan for the upcoming growing season.”

The platform offers several built-in applications that could be tailored to farmers requests such as a yield analysis tool, seeding and fertility scripting and advanced field health imaging. To further drive growth of apps on the platform and diversify app functionalities, the company decided to open up the platform in 2016 to third party developers. By doing this, management hoped to attract top talent and drive top notch app developments thus offering better solutions to farmers.

To drive and facilitate adoption of the platform internationally the climate corporation prioritized early on the compatibility of the platform with all type of farm equipment and crops.  This wide adoption of the platform is crucial for the strategy of the platform. In fact, in order to optimize intelligence and innovate analytics tools offered on the platform data is needed. The more data and the more diverse layers of data are gathered on the platform the more Fiedlview could improve its R&D, and diversify solutions offered to farmers. To drive growth, climateview is also partnering with top notch agriculture tech companies to offer better service.

So far after more than 1Billion USD invested in the digital platform, it is still has an insignificant impact on the bottom line. Will opening up the platform to third parties improve results?





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Student comments on The rise of a digital agriculture platform

  1. Thank you Lama for this interesting post!
    It is very interesting that a company known for being highly controversial in agriculture has chosen to take this route. Although I believe a platform such as the one developed truly helps farmers, and that leveraging big data is a great way to increase agriculture yields, I question Monsanto’s position in the market. Will Monsanto be able to distance themselves enough from the platform so that they create an ecosystem with little conflict of interests when other suppliers of seeds or equipment are involved? Or will an independent third party be able to gain traction and credibility in building a similar platform? Opening their platform for third party developers appears to be a move in the right direction, and I will be interested to see how they navigate the clashes between the company’s interests and the needs of the users of the platform.

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