Bayer, Planetary Resources to improve ag with space data

Bayer to use satellite-derived data to create new ag products and improve existing ones.

Bayer and Redmond, Wash.-based aerospace technology company Planetary Resources have signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the development of applications and products based on satellite images.

Bayer said it intends to purchase these data from Planetary Resources to create new agricultural products and improve existing ones. The collaboration will be part of Bayer's "Digital Farming Initiative" (www.digitalfarming.bayer.com). Financial details were not disclosed.

Using the combined technologies from the two companies, farmers can time their irrigation systems much better to save water, receive planting date recommendations and re-planting advice and assess their soil’s water-holding capacity, the announcement said. Another project is a canopy temperature scout that provides weekly practical insights and scouting support from emergence to harvest by identifying problem areas in the field.

“The sensors from Planetary Resources can become a powerful tool that can provide a new level of information on crops anywhere in the world,” said Liam Condon, member of the board of management of Bayer AG and head of the Crop Science Division. “The combination of Bayer’s scientific and agronomy expertise and Planetary Resources’ unique sensor capability will greatly improve our ability to deliver truly practical intelligence to growers anywhere on the planet.”

Planetary Resources chief executive officer Chris Lewicki added, "We have identified Bayer as a prime partner in the agriculture industry based on their expertise in several fields and anticipate that this collaboration will accelerate technology deployment, product development and market acceptance. We are currently conducting airborne research and development (R&D) campaigns over a variety of agricultural targets. Bayer is interested in supporting these activities with scientific and agronomic expertise in order to accelerate R&D, product validation and creation.”

Bayer noted that it intends to provide farmers all over the world with practical decision-making aids based on the precise evaluation and combination of diverse data such as weather data or topographic maps. Using these individualized recommendations, farmers can optimize their business management and lower costs. This would lead to not only higher yields and, therefore, improved income but also more efficient and environmentally compatible deployment of resources.

Bayer is now strengthening its activities in the market of digital farming through strategic investments and said it is committed to long-term research and development collaborations with leading technology providers such as Planetary Resources.

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and agriculture.

Planetary Resources is an aerospace technology company founded to develop low-cost sensor platforms to better understand and manage humanity’s resources on Earth and in deep space. Its Earth observation system, known as Ceres, is initially being deployed to collect a new level of crop intelligence for the global agricultural industry.

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