The US farmers choose the whole innovative advanced agriculture technologies tools range.
Modern combine cab is very similar to space craft: directed by satellites and equipped with special screens, which visualize the work process and general plan that will be done by the engine.
Just couple years ago most innovations were made on machinery level, but now with the spreading of mobile devices (such as tablets) implementation, the number of agriculture tools increased significantly. Nowadays you can find different app types, which meet the farmer’s needs in data on access, plans, graphics and reports making.
Average agronomist gets detailed information about every piece of his land using sensor-packed and GPS-guided equipment. This helps to detect problem or atypically zones and to take a decision about agriculture operations: irrigation, fertilization, crop rotation or replanting.
Such agriculture giants as Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Deere&Co have already invested millions of dollars to supply their customers with tools and apps, providing opportunity to pay less, but grow more. Moreover, there are a number of start-ups, which become confident competitors on agriculture apps market.
Mostly they are based on the same free online sources (e.g. National Weather Service, Google maps) and data, collected by farm machines and private weather stations, transferred using wireless technologies, flash drives and cloud services.
You can choose the app, according to functions you need and sum of money, you are ready to spend. There are a number of cost-free programs (providing basic function), low cost and premium services.
Climate Corporation (since 2013 belongs to Monsanto) is one of the market leaders. Its free services used for more than 20 million hectares, about 500 thousands hectares are under the premium service of Climate Pro (since 2015 its price is 3$ per an acre).
Another successful startup, which offers its services for free, is Farmlogs. It is the fastest growing service (tripled the amount of land under observation for less than a year).
640 Labs representative claim their user number to rocket in for times since spring, but rejected to tell the precise areas under monitoring.
At the same time there are large privately held international companies that have huge amount of land under monitoring. Fast growing Cropio claimed to have more than 2.5 million acres under payable service in 4Q 2014, which is substantially higher compared to rivals.
Mostly, startups have the roots of their business in the United States, but also they are trying themselves on the agricultural markets of South America, Australia and Europe.
Agriculture apps services are expected to be widespread fast, consequently the income of companies-producers will grow extremely. For instance, according to preliminary count of Dupont Pioneer specialists, their farm data products would bring about $500 million each year. The investments in the ag data services are economically justified, though not deprived of risk. The question is how many farmers are ready to pay for premium accounts, considering the quite low crop prices during the last 4 years? The issue will remain unclear at least for the next couple of years.
Another important point for startupers, is to convince their potential client in their product efficiency without spending huge sum of money on advertizing and marketing, what only big agriculture companies can afford. But sometimes, their independence from famous brands becomes an advantage, because it gives them opportunity to stay on their own root, avoid internal bureaucracy and implement new ideas faster and successfully.
Climate Corp is trying to realize the customer view of the service development, though according to Christy Toedebusch this process can take up to a year. DuPont Pioneer is also open to users’ feedback, but runs pilot trials before commercializing products, spokeswoman Jane Slusark says. 640 Labs works even faster, and examines each client problem.”Our weapon is we can turn on a dime,” said 640 Labs co-founder and chief technology officer Craig Rupp.