PA Tech

Part
01
of eight
Part
01

Precision Agriculture Opportunities

Precision agriculture practices presents farmers with the opportunity to reduce their fertilizer, water and greenhouse emissions. Significantly, farmers benefit from improved farm management practices that shores up their profitability and return on investment.

IMPROVED WATER USE

Challenge

  • Currently, agricultural activities take up to 80% of water use in the United States. In some Western states, water use by agricultural activities reaches up to 90% of total water use.
  • In the future, global warming will drive water scarcity with 96 out of the 204 water basins that supply freshwater in the United States not having enough water to meet water demand by 2071.

Opportunity

  • Tackling irrigation inefficiencies by US farmers can significantly decrease their water use considering that evaporation wastes up to 50% of available water for irrigation.
  • Use of precision agriculture can decrease overall farm water use by 20%.

IMPROVED FERTILIZER USE

Challenge

  • Removing nitrates in water polluted by agriculture costs the United States $1.17 billion annually; the US fishing and tourism industry faces $100 million and $1 billion in damages annually from fertilizer pollution; nitrogen use in fertilizer is increasing respiratory illnesses with US citizens incurring $23.1 health costs per kg of nitrogen fertilizer uses.

Opportunity

  • Efficient fertilizer use reduces the impact of fertilizers on the environment.
  • Significantly, precision agriculture can deliver a 40% reduction in fertilizer use, which improves the profitability of farming.
  • Using remote sensing technology can save US corn and soybean farmers $0.5 billion in fertilizer cost.

IMPROVED FARM MANAGEMENT

Challenge

Opportunity

  • As US farms become larger, it increases the need to have better farm management policies. Precision farming provides digital insights and tools for modern farm management.
  • Precision farming provides information on the weather, farm input use, farm output, crop health, animal health, and soil moisture. Previously, these data sources were dispersed and uncollected for analysis. Analysis of precision farming data using cloud based farm management software provides to farmers comprehensive insights on improving farm management.
  • Farm management systems also incorporate CRM software capabilities for farm management in areas such as procurement, warehousing, distribution, finance, human resource, and marketing. 72% of users of cloud based software expect an increase in ROI.

REDUCED GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS

Challenge

Opportunity

Part
02
of eight
Part
02

Precision Agriculture Challenges

Three additional key challenges for precision agriculture are poor internet connectivity, inadequate data and equipment privacy, and uncertainty of nutrient application.

POOR INTERNET CONNECTIVITY


EXPERT INSIGHTS

DATA AND EQUIPMENT PRIVACY


EXPERT INSIGHTS

UNCERTAINTY OF NUTRIENT APPLICATION


EXPERT INSIGHTS

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Our strategy for identifying the key challenges involved searching for surveys, industry publications, and other reliable sources with information about precision agriculture. The key challenges were defined as those which appeared in multiple sources. The industry experts were either government agencies who have provided industry information for long such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and individuals who have made significant contributions to precision agriculture.
Part
03
of eight
Part
03

Precision Agriculture Perceptions and Awareness

Four insights around the perceptions, awareness, attitudes, and preferred brands farmers have when it comes to precision agriculture are related to effectiveness, costs, preferred brands and technologies, ease, suitability, and viability of use.

1. Effectiveness

  • Users of precision agriculture reported that yields improved by nearly 60% over the past two years.
  • A third of precision agriculture users stated that reduced input costs and improved yields were the top benefits of precision agriculture.
  • The spending on precision agriculture is expected to reduce through 2022, suggesting that some users are not satisfied with the value that precision agriculture provides.
  • Farmers with larger farms are convinced of the benefits of precision agriculture as opposed to those with smaller farms.
  • Farmers associate precision technologies with increased soil conservation, reduction of erosion, and nutrient control.
  • Mapping and auto-steering are associated with improved on-farm stewardship.
  • Soybean farmers see Variable Rate Technology (VRT) as a means to reduce fertilizer use.
In a research conducted in over 40 U.S. states:
  • 77% of respondents indicated that technologies make their job as farm managers easier.
  • 80% of the respondents indicated that precision technologies make them better farm managers.
  • 88% of respondents agreed that precision agriculture technologies contributed to their farms' profitability.
  • Utilizing digital technologies enables the farmers to make better decisions about the inputs to be used during the next year.

2. Ease, Suitability, and Viability of use

  • There is a lack of awareness among livestock producers, making Precision Livestock Farming lag behind crop production.
  • Some farmers are late adopters of new technologies, others don't have local access to equipment services, while others simply choose to rely on the traditional farming methods.
  • A surprisingly large number of producers are not aware of precision agriculture technologies.
  • The complexity of fixing equipment which breaks down during production deters some farmers from using precision technology.
  • Most livestock producers see initial cost, uncertain economic benefits, and the technology complexity as limiting factors in the adoption of precision agriculture.
  • The lack of readily available maintenance and high tech service can prevent some farmers from using precision agriculture.
  • Specialty crop growers are most excited about precision irrigation or water management, sensors, Internet of Things, and decision-support systems.

3. Cost

  • The financial burden associated with acquiring technology makes small farm operators less likely to purchase advanced technology equipment.
  • Cost is the biggest factor that shapes the adoption rates of precision agriculture technologies by farmers.
  • Despite precision agriculture technology being costly, most farmers believe that it is a better alternative to traditional farming methods.

4. Preferred Brands and Technologies

  • GPS systems are preferred by a lot of farmers for a wide range of applications which include field mapping, planting, and fertilization.
  • The emerging generation of farmers prefer precision agriculture brands which are faster and more flexible startups.
  • Farmers with crop acreage of 2,00 acres or more prefer large and expensive brands because they view the advanced technology as most suitable for large scale farming.
  • Farmers will small acreage go for low-cost precision agriculture brands because they believe that advanced technology equipment are not suitable for them.

Research Strategy

Our research involved searching for surveys, industry publications, and other reputable sources such as credible researches and governmental reports. The aim was to identify any insights surrounding the perceptions, awareness, attitudes, and preferred brands that farmers have in relation to precision agriculture. Perceptions, awareness, and attitudes were easily identified. However, due to lack of information on preferred brands manufactured by specific companies, a general overview of farmers' preferences when selecting brands has been given.


Part
04
of eight
Part
04

Precision Ag Competitive Landscape, Part 1


John Deere provides precision Ag services and products that help with tillage, spacing and placing, while Case provides a system that connects farmers to the farm and provides the ability to manage the fleet, and other data. Raven provides technology that impacts applicators and growers such as GPS guidance, sprayer, and planter controls. The details are outlined on the attached spreadsheet in rows 3-8 of columns C-E.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

  • John Deere provides precision Ag that will work right around the year. Their precision Ag helps with tillage technology and equipment, improves spacing, placement and emergence, and at the time of harvest, it helps with harvesting at the right time.
  • Based on their annual report, in 2018, they made $37.360 billion in revenue and it's precision services are mainly off the shelf, that is, done through dealers.
  • Case provides a service known as Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) Connect. This involves customers connecting remotely to their farm to manage and monitor the activities, data and the fleet. They also sell products such as the Precision Disk 500T air drill and air carts that come with automated control.
  • Their revenue is estimated at $1.2 billion.
  • Raven provides applied technology that is capable of delivering significant impact on custom applicators and growers. Some precision technology includes GPS guidance steering, sprayer and planter controls, and wireless technology.
  • Based on their last financial report, its revenue is $28 million.
Part
05
of eight
Part
05

Precision Ag Competitive Landscape, Part 2

Outback Guidance offers off the shelf products while Trimble and TopCon offer OEM precision agriculture products.

The link to the spreadsheet is here. An overview of the findings has been presented below.

1. OUTBACK GUIDANCE

Overview

  • Outback Guidance claims to be the leading aftermarket supplier of affordable and easy to use GPS systems for agriculture. It's precision farming products include positioning antennas, consoles, auto steerings, application controllers, repeaters, and correction services.

Revenue

OEM or Off the Shelf

2. TRIMBLE

Overview

  • Trimble's precision agriculture solutions enable farmers to allocate scarce resources to produce a safe, reliable food supply in a profitable and environmentally sustainable manner.
  • It is intended to cover all seasons, crops, terrains, and farm sizes. Trimble's precision agriculture solutions can be used on and with most of the equipment on the farm, regardless of the manufacturer. Their products include guidance display systems, farm software, steering systems, application controls, monitoring, and correction services.

Revenue

OEM or Off the Shelf

3. TOPCON

Overview

  • TopCon precision agriculture products include GNSS receivers, steering controllers, consoles, application controllers, trackers and monitoring equipment, smart nozzles, and harvest solutions. Their precision farming products support activities such as planting, seeding, and after-harvest activities.

Revenue

OEM or Off the Shelf

Part
06
of eight
Part
06

Precision Ag Competitive Landscape, Part 3

AG Leader offers precision agriculture products for every phase from planning to harvest. Smart AG offers automation technology for tractors to help farmers optimize and solve labor issues. Precision planting offers smart products for planting. The findings are compiled in this spreadsheet.

Ag Leader

  • AG Leader offers precision agriculture products for data management, planting, application, harvesting, and water management.
  • AG Leader makes $15.7 million in annual revenue.
  • Ag Leader produces products that address the wants and needs of individual growers and farmers as priority one, instead of producing products that appeal to the equipment manufacturers, like other companies.
  • AG Leaders products are sold through dealers.
  • The pros of having a dealer for AG Leader products is easy, local access to a person that can help a farmer realize the potential of their equipment. A local dealer is familiar with the needs and wants of farmers in the area. Dealers also use their product knowledge and knowledge of the area to help a farmer realize the potential of their land.

SmartAg

  • Smart AG offers software and hardware automation solutions for tractors that includes 4 main products: AutoCart, AAVI, SmartNX, and SmartHP.
  • The company produces $3 million in annual revenue.
  • Smart AG is sold through dealers.
  • Smart AG advantage is that it lets farmers automate existing tractors and optimize labor.
  • The pros of their products being sold by dealers is that this gives buyers local access to sale personnel with Smart Ag training. This means customers can have their questions answered in person. This also means that there are local support personnel with Smart Ag training.

Precision Planting (Agco)

  • Precision Planting has an annual revenue of $30 million.
  • Precision Planting offers smart products for planting; like the SmartFirmer, which lets you see inside the soil, and the SeederForce, an automated seeder downforce control.
  • Precision Planting competitive advantage is that uses the farmer’s existing equipment and maximizes their performance.
  • Precision planting is sold through dealers.
  • Precision Planting has a network of 400 dealers in the United States.
  • The pros of having a dealer for Precision Planting is that dealers can work together with farmers throughout the season to help them produce the best results. Dealers offer much easier access to recommendations and support for customers. Precision Planting dealers also offer training for the company's products to farmers.

Research Strategy

The process for completing this research was, first, analyzing each company's website to find out information on their precision agriculture products, dealers, and revenue. Database information was used for revenue, as none of these companies had their statements available online.
Part
07
of eight
Part
07

Precision Ag Competitive Landscape, Part 4

AgJunction provides autosteering solutions and precision Ag services, while Climate Corporation offers a system that allows farmers to fully understand their fields. AgSense provides an application that enables farmers to monitor and control farm features remotely. The requested details are outlined in rows 1 to 4 of the attached spreadsheet.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

AgJunction

  • AgJunction is "a global leader of advanced guidance and autosteering solutions for precision agriculture applications". The company's technologies have been approved in 200 patents.
  • The company`s 200 approved patents are critical components for over 30 of the world's leading solution providers companies and precision Ag manufacturers. Their solutions are marketed under Novariant, Wheelman, and Whirl.
  • They also provide a "Hands-Free Farm" initiative. This is an autosteering technology that aims to help every farmer in the world.
  • The company's revenue was $64.5 million in 2018.

Climate Corporation

  • Climate Corporation offers data hubs and connectivity, data visualization, insights into crop performance & field health, and optimization solutions such as fertility management.
  • The company's "Fieldview" platform was launched in 2015 in the US to present farmers with a deeper understanding of their fields. It helps with decision-making, optimizing crops, maximizing efficiency, and reducing risk.
  • Earlier this year, they partnered with Airbus. This partnership was done with the aim of allowing farmers to have access to their reliable satellite imagery from the Airbus SPOT 6, SPOT 7 and Pléiades satellites.
  • Climate Corporation has an estimated annual revenue of $92.6 million.

AgSense

  • AgSense strives to provide remote management agriculture solutions. Farmers can monitor their farm's situation including the weather and soil moisture. Through the AgSense app, farmers can also control features and operations remotely.
  • In 2018, Valmont acquired a 51% ownership stake to provide more framers with their remote monitoring equipment especially with regard to their irrigation farming operations.
Part
08
of eight
Part
08

Precision Ag Competitive Landscape, Part 5

AgJunction's precision ag products/services are both OEM and sold off the shelf, as is AgSense's ag products/services. Meanwhile, the ag products/services from Climate Corporation are OEM. Rows four through eight, columns L through N of the attached spreadsheet have been filled in with the requested information.

AgJunction

  • AgJunction has a U.S. patent that specifies an operation that combines weighted data taken from several sensors to determine the monitor speed, distance traveled and heading of a vehicle, while also forming visible drift connections.
  • The task management feature installed in the Wheelman Flex and Wheelman Pro allows growers to maintain the distinct tasks accomplished when utilizing the product on their farm.

Climate Corporation

  • The fieldview feature facilitates its users to acquire essential data (e.g., nitrogen status, yield analysis, rainfall, and field health) through a single digital platform.
  • Climate Corporation's Climate FieldView Drive product enables its users to observe their field maps being built real time. Users can also transfer this information to their account.

AgSense


Research Strategy:

Research for this project was pretty straight forward. Most of the requested information was available on official websites and press release of the companies or third-party market research databases such PRNewswire. We also searched through other sources such as Investor news to find missing data and supporting data for our previous findings. All the requested information was inserted into designated rows/cells.
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "However, without reliable, affordable high-speed Internet connectivity at both the farmhouse and in the field, many of these technologies cannot realize their full potential. "
Quotes
  • "Without access to online learning and peer sharing platforms, farmers are less likely to succeed with technology implementation, having wasted money, time, and effort without realizing complete benefits."
Quotes
  • "The use of right source and amounts of nutrient, where machine based application and decision is made with a lot of accuracy is becoming imperative such that farmers must realize the limiting nutrient correctly and adequately address the need with the right amounts and the correct source."
Quotes
  • " In addition to issues with data integrity, foreign-manufactured equipment could potentially be remotely disabled in bulk either through built in firmware backdoor access or through malicious code sent to equipment during times of crisis or during key planting or harvesting windows."
Quotes
  • "It is the author’s belief that adoption of Precision Agriculture for seed and fertilizer management will improve when three key challenges have been overcome: (1) improving GNSS signal availability, (2) improving the efficiency of soil measurements, and (3) when growers take advantage of the ability to perform data analysis across multiple farms."
From Part 03
Quotes
  • "Nearly half of growers today use precision agriculture services, and Gen X (ages 36-51) farmers, farms in the Northeast and South, and farms with more than 1,000 acres over-index to precision agriculture users. "
Quotes
  • "The report also notes that VRT adoption is more prevalent on farms with more than 1,700 acres than those with less acreage."
Quotes
  • "Soybean farmers use VRT as a way to reduce fertilizer use"
Quotes
  • " PLF has lagged behind crop production mainly due to the cost and lack of awareness among livestock producers"
Quotes
  • "What shapes rates of adoption of the techniques varies, but the biggest factor is cost. "
Quotes
  • "A high percentage of respondents in our sample (88%) indicated they agreed that precision farming technologies and services are an important contributor to their farm's current financial profitability."
Quotes
  • "Utilizing digital technologies allows me to make better decisions about inputs next year."
Quotes
  • "Below is a snapshot of what our survey found, along with some running commentary from growers that, as often as not, expressed some healthy skepticism side by side with general optimism about the future of precision."
Quotes
  • "Whether these were straight or following the contour of the field, making efficient use of the available land required constant attention when guiding the plow. GPS, along with other modern guidance technology and automatic steering systems, can place furrows in a field with millimeter precision."