The first services are planned for the end of 2019
By Diego Flammini
A Norwegian chemical company and an American information technology company have developed a partnership to bring a new digital platform to farmers.
Yara International and IBM will work to “build the world’s leading digital farming platform.” The partners hope the platform can reach more than 100 million hectares (247 million acres) or “close to 7 percent of all arable land worldwide,” they said in a joint statement Monday.
Each organization will contribute its specific expertise to help build the platform.
IBM will bring four things to the table, said Luq Niazi, the global managing director of consumer industries with IBM.
“We’re bringing our global services capabilities, so we have our business services and systems integration business,” he told Farms.com. “We’re bringing key technologies. In particular, technologies from the Weather Company and our AI portfolio. We’re bringing capabilities from our research organization and our global reach.
“Both companies are operating globally in over 65 markets combined and there’s a tight synergy between our innovation hubs and innovation locations.”
And Yara is supporting the project with its vast ag experience, said Stefan Fürnsinn, the company’s senior vice-president of digital farming.
“We bring a mission to responsibly feed the world and protect the planet,” he told Farms.com. “We have more than 100 years of agronomy expertise and maybe 1,000 agronomists across the world. We have the leading position as the global market leader in crop nutrition, so the farm is our home.
“We also bring access to farmers. Technology hasn’t made its way to the farm that it has in other industries. While IBM has game-changing technology, we can be the root and help get it into the hands of farmers.”
IBM and Yara have a shared goal of making farmers’ lives easier.
Producers have access to large amounts of data. The platform will provide farmers with services about how to use that data, Fürnsinn said.
“We don’t want to dump a terabyte of data onto a farmer every day, we want to offer actionable, simple services that a farmer can use. It’s our task to combine a number of inputs and technology to deliver super simple services.”
“Through the platform we will provide a range of services specific to the farmer and geography but also deliver it in a way that’s appropriate to the sophistication of the farming market,” Niazi said.
One service, for example, will help farmers make decisions about nutrient applications, Fürnsinn added.
Allowing the platform to connect with modern farm equipment is also part of the long-term plan.
IBM and Yara hope to bring some services to farmers before the end of the year.
Right now, the companies are focused on establishing innovation teams in the U.S., Europe, Singapore and Brazil.