Monsanto's Climate Corp building network of farm data sensors

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 17, 2016 12:22 PM

(Reuters) - Monsanto Co <MON.N> subsidiary the Climate Corporation is developing a network of in-field sensors to expand the scope of farming data flowing into its digital agriculture platform, the company said on Wednesday.

San Francisco-based Climate also said it will expand its software infrastructure to allow third-party developers to build farm data tools for its Climate FieldView platform, which taps detailed data to help farmers increase crop yields and reduce costs.

The move is aimed at going beyond existing data transfer agreements that Climate Corp has with other companies, Climate's chief technology officer, Mark Young, said.

"By welcoming other ag innovators to contribute to and build upon our platform, we're helping simplify the complex digital ag landscape for farmers and making it easier for other ag innovators to bring valuable new technologies to farmers faster," he said.

Kansas-based soil sensor company Veris Technologies is the first to sign on to the new platform, Climate said in a release.

The move is the latest by seed and agrochemicals company Monsanto to bolster its Climate Corp offering. Monsanto bought the data science company in 2013 for nearly $1 billion, but the unit has not yet grown into a big revenue generator.

Agriculture companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on technologies that tap detailed data about plants, soil and weather to help farmers increase yields and lower costs, hoping to capitalize on what they believe is the biggest step forward in agriculture since biotech seeds.

But many farmers, squeezed by tightening farm profits, have not fully embraced the big data offerings.

Terms of the agreement with Veris were not disclosed. Neither Climate Corp nor Veris could immediately be reached for further comment.

(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)