Ag Tech Soars in St. Louis

  • Aug 22, 2018
Ag Tech Soars in St. Louis
The InfoAg Conference, a trade show featuring the latest in precision ag technology, was held last month in St. Louis. According to the InfoAg website, 1,222 people attended the event, and WinField United was one of the 110 exhibitors on hand to demonstrate products and answer questions.
 
Here are some observations I came away with after attending this year’s conference.
 
1. The precision ag space is maturing.
The conference, which began in 1995, has consistently showcased new and emerging ag technology. A number of participants had been there previously, which may be a sign perhaps not of permanent maturity, but of maturation. There was a continuation of features and enhancements from companies that have been there a few years, but one of the new topics of conversation was nutrient-specific sensors.
 
2. Tech mergers and consolidations continue.
The acquisition earlier this year by Proagrica, part of the RELX Group, of SST Software in Oklahoma could signal a round of technology mergers or consolidation in the space. The RELX Group has customers in more than 180 countries and offices in about 40 countries. Becoming part of a larger, more multinational company provides some interesting new insights into how tech providers are being acquired. This is similar to Blue River, which was acquired by John Deere; and Granular, which was acquired by Corteva Agriscience™.
 
3. Autonomous ag is on a roll.
As has been extensively reported, autonomous tractors and drones are on agriculture’s doorstep. One InfoAg exhibitor, Cambridge Consultants, works with clients to improve yields, reduce costs and advance harvesting efficiencies, and will build a custom solution to enable a specific idea. It is pioneering uses for machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in agriculture.  
 
Another autonomous ag exhibitor was xarvio™, which is using a prescription for variable-rate fungicide to deliver to an autonomous sprayer. The company DOT, though not at InfoAg this year, also has an autonomous sprayer with the ability to execute a prescription without a human touching the sprayer. This sprayer was running simultaneously to the Info Ag Conference at an event in Canada, executing a variable-rate fungicide prescription from xarvio and delivering it to the autonomous DOT sprayer.
 
4. The R7® Field Forecasting Tool is delivering.
A number of WinField United retailers visited our booth to provide a mid-season update about their experiences with the Field Forecasting Tool, and there are signals of true adoption on their part. There are just enough variables the tool is calculating to make ag retailers start to ask more and deeper questions about where their opinions and their experiences align with or deviate from what the model is saying. And there have been a number of instances where agronomists have used the tool to help farmers make in-season nitrogen decisions. It was great to have conversations with them about their perceptions of what the field needs and what the tool recommends.
 
5. Sustainability continues as a worthy goal.
A number of presenters at InfoAg gave their takes on what sustainable agriculture looks like and how precision ag helps advance sustainability. Applications such as AgSolver® can help farmers document the environmental impacts of their sustainability efforts. Weaving the thread of sustainability throughout precision ag is a great idea, because that’s what all the data we collect has an opportunity to be used for: to tell our agriculture story in a positive way.
 
© 2018 WinField United. R7® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.
Corteva Agriscience™ is a trademark of DowDuPont.
xarvio™ is a trademark of xarvio™ – The Digital Farming Company.
AgSolver is a trademark of EFC Systems™.