February 01, 2023

Digital tools deliver farming solutions

NEW ORLEANS — A portfolio of digital farming tools has been developed to provide growers with reliable information and real-time data to solve challenges.

Ron Cowman, Syngenta Digital Agriculture Solutions head, North America, gave a rundown of the company’s digital ecosystem during a recent media summit.

“As you think about digital enablement, and I use that word purposely, we don’t refer to our digital tools as products. They are enablement tools that support and enable our portfolio across crop protection, seed and seed care,” he said.

“We don’t charge on a per-acre basis or have an annual license fee as some of our peers do. The reason for that is every customer may have a different value proposition on their operation than the next, and who are we to establish that towards the customer, but rather let’s work with the customer to understand what that is.”

Syngenta began creating a global digital strategy in 2017, but has had a digital presence in North America for 22 years.

“We had a farm management system that was part of our AgriEdge Go to Market program and that is still the case, but what we didn’t have is any agronomic tools, imagery tools, those other digital tools that can lead to potential decision insights for our customers,” Cowman noted.

“So, beginning in 2017 we embarked on a journey where we looked digital partnerships and acquisitions across the globe that had digital tools that could be brought into North America.”

Cropwise Roots

As a result, Syngenta acquired a company in Brazil, two in the United States and an Eastern European company that all had digital tools and unique capabilities that could be brought into the North American marketplace.

Those partnerships and acquisitions culminated in the company’s following offerings:

• Cropwise Financials is a farm management tool that tracks, measures and analyzes each acre for profitability.

• Cropwise Sustainability takes outcome-based measurements on farm practices.

• Cropwise Protection is a digital scouting tool for making decisions with the best field data.

• Cropwise Seed Selector makes the best variety and hybrid selection across all brands for every field to maximize yield.

• Cropwise Risk Management offsets the risk of adverse weather and market uncertainty.

• Cropwise Imagery monitors crop health with satellite images from wherever the fields are located.

Each of those six can be a standalone tool that a customer can use, or those six tools can interconnect and build upon one another. So, if a customer has multiple needs based on the way he or she farms, based on their cropping practices, they have a selection of which they can choose from.

“All of these digital tools are housed and will be brought to market underneath our AgriEdge,” Cowman said.

“AgriEdge has been around for 22 years, and we are now in a bit of a pivotal transitional point where we’re taking AgriEdge, which was primarily focused on farm management record keeping, and we’re evolving it now to include other digital tools and digital insights that the grower can benefit from.

“Where this ties into sustainability is when we measure and monitor our efforts around sustainable agriculture, much of that is contained within how you capture your management practices and how you are operating on your farm from year to year. And as you implement different changes, how do you monitor those and understand what impact it had on the farm either from a profitability perspective or a sustainability and soil health perspective?

“At any given point, any of these digital tools would enable that sustainability story and more importantly the engagement with the grower and his operations to be able to measure the impact of what he or she does on that particular farm.”

Convenience

The Cropwise digital offerings includes a user-friendly, one-stop shop.

“One of the things that we’ve always heard was, ‘I don’t want to log in to multiple systems, keep track of multiple passwords and reenter my data multiple times in each system,’” Cowman said.

“In the Cropwise ecosystem we’ve built all of those digital tools on top of a standardized platform where the grower’s information which he or she owns (and only provides permission to those partners that they wish to see it), their data, their field boundaries, their core information resides in this space platform.

“Depending on what tool you chose to use, that tool reaches into that platform and pulls out the information.”

All of the digital products are interconnected into one system for the user.

“A customer logs in one time into one account, and depending on the tools that customer is utilizing, then that account pulls out the information from each of tools,” Cowman said.

“From a customer experience perspective, it’s exactly what they were asking for with a one-stop shop on the front end, even though there are multiple tools on the backend feeding information.”

Tom Doran

Tom Doran

Field Editor