Digital agriculture, the next step? Integrate services and data

TO World Summit on Agritech Innovation 2023 OF London there was air innovation. Exposedevent in London there were self-driving devices, robots, new agrochemicals and fertilizers, satellites and sensors. But also what is not tangible, such as dataattracted the attention of investors and companies.

In fact, if data sources in agriculture (sensors, devices, tractors, satellites, drones, etc.) there is still much to dointeroperability andintegration services. We talked about it with Mark Pendergrastdirector of Business Development & Go to Market at Climate LLCpart of society Group Bayer which developed a precision farming platform Climate FieldView.

Bayer himself signed a contract in 2021 agreement with Microsoft join forces and begin 2023 the first ones were announced Result of this alliance. “Like Bayer, we have specific knowledge of agricultural issues, while Microsoft has unique know-how in data analytics and cloud solutions.”Pendergrast tells us.

“Therefore, it was natural to join forces to overcome some of them problems that hinder the development of digital agriculture, such as the lack of interoperability to provide increasingly valuable services to farmers”.

Read also Agriculture 4.0 and data interoperability. Let’s take stock

Data Manager for Agriculture and AgPowered Services

The first fruit of this partnership is Data manager for agriculture (Adma), a platform that is based on Microsoft Azuresolution cloud which makes Microsoft’s computing power available to Bayer itself and third parties. Thanks to Adma, Bayer has announced that it has developed new services that will be made available to farmers under the brand AgPowered Services.

Never data and agronomic know-how of Bayer combined with the ability cloud computing of Microsoft, are also made available to third parties for the development of new solutions or services.

On example AND credit institution could use Data Manager for Agriculture to develop a banking product that meets the needs of agricultural businesses. Based on the farmer’s permission, the bank could have access to the company’s data and could analyze it through developed tool on Adma, offer tailor-made solutions to farmers and monitor their performance.

Mark Pendergrast during World Agri-Tech 2023 in London

Mark Pendergrast during World Agri-Tech 2023 in London

(Photo source: Tommaso Cinquemani – AgroNotizie®)

There are two key words in this process: interoperability AND integration. Interoperability is the ability of two systems to exchange data. In this case, Bayer would provide the lender with i information about the farmer (depending on your authorization) through the Adma platform, which would actually have a role “translate” data in a common language. “We don’t want to create a new standard, but rather use new technologies to eliminate the need to create a new standard”summarizes Pendergrast.

While on the integration front, it is interesting to note how a hypothetical new service could potentially be offered to farmers through Climate FieldView, Bayer’s digital agriculture platform. The farmer would thus have access to services on a single work platform offered by third parties that use the potential of data and the cloud.

“A data manager for agriculture is open to all, and other companies in the field. In fact, it aims to be an agnostic platform where anyone can join develop new services for any type of crop, not just those targeted by Climate FieldView”points out Mark Pendergrast.

“A cloud platform is a third party that does not use the data directly, but mediates it in a certain way interoperable to those who provide the service. It’s as if with Data Manager for Agriculture we created highways for the data to travel on, but we didn’t see the cars driving by.”.

Interoperability and integration, the road is marked

On the other hand, something similar was seen in the partnership between Allianz AND xFarm, an Italian startup present at World Agri-Tech 2023 in London. This year the insurance company actually offered one parametric politicsthrough a precision agriculture platform aimed at protecting maize farmers from the risk of drought.

In fact, xFarm provided all the data necessary for Allianz to manage the policy, which can be purchased on the platform itself. And if the conditions specified in the contract occur, the farmer will come compensated for the damage suffered, without the need for an expert to enter the field. Allianz thus uses the data stored in xFarm to offer a valuable service to farmers.

Another parametric policy (released Revo insurance and Neosurance), this time offered by the platform Elaisian protect olive growers from damage by flies. Anyone who uses the startup’s software can actually buy it parametric politics and if there is a significant fly infestation, as judged by an index developed by Elaisian itself and fed by data from field controllers, then insurance will automatically cover the damage.

Read also Olive fly, auto insurance is coming

Data interoperability can be done on different datasets Application programming interface (Bees) specially created (complex and expensive to create) or third party solutions that come between two parties interested in communication.

Major players in the industry were present at World Agri-Tech 2023 in London, such as Agrorouter AND Blade. The first is a data exchange platform for agriculture developed by a German company DKE-Data and further two hundred partners. Agrirouter focuses on agricultural machinery (tractors and equipment), allowing interoperability regardless of brand.

Leaf, on the other hand, is a California company that deals with interoperability between software providers. As he explained to us Reinder PrinsLeaf’s Global AgTech and AgData executive instead of the two software communicating directly with each other via APILeaf has built an infrastructure that automatically “translates” the two different languages, making the two systems interoperable.

Integration of services, the way to simplify the life of farmers

Niceexample integration refers to acquisition by BASF OF hot@spinoff ofCatholic University of the Sacred Heart in Piacenzawhich over the years has developed and verified a very extensive and reliable portfolio of decision support systems (Dss) for crop protection.

Decision Support Systems which, as he explained to us Konstantin Kretschunglobal head of BASF Digital Farming, will be integrated into the platform worldwide Xarvia Digital agriculture.

Some of the solutions offered on the Xarvio™ Field Manager platform

Some of the solutions offered on the Xarvio platform Field manager

(Photo source: BASF)

Xarvia Digital Farming is the brand under which all digital solutions developed by BASF fall, the main thing Field manager, which can do precision farming. Hort@ solutions will come this way evaluate as part of a platform that wants to accompany farmers in their daily work.

From this perspective, DSS will be made available in different countries based on special characteristicslocal agriculture. For example, the DSS for wheat could be pushed into Canada, while the DSS for grapevines in France or Spain. And these DSS will benefit from being integrated into one a wider platformfull of data that can be used to provide even more accurate services to the farmer.

Even in the case of Xarvia the question of interoperability is crucial. The BASF platform actually communicates with agricultural machinery via Xarvia® Connect, a device that connects to the tractor. But Xarvia is also a partner of Agrirouter. Furthermore, the company concluded contracts directly with third-party partners, such as DJto make measurements taken by drones easy to use on the platform.

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