Private equity-backed precision agriculture company Farmers Edge has partnered with Green Aero Tech to add drone imagery to its digital crop monitoring and management products.
The agreement continues a growth strategy by the Winnipeg company, backed by Mitsui, KPCB Green Growth Fund, Avrio Capital and Osmington, that relies on regional expansion and corporate partnerships aimed at increasing sources of on-farm data collection.
The first half of 2016 has seen funding rounds for start-ups using big data to improve agricultural production, including drone-based imagery analytics company SlantRange, permanent crop-focused Semios, and irrigation tech company Hortau, among others.
In a crowded precision agtech landscape, Farmers Edge has sought to distinguish itself recently by scaling up the on-farm data collection tools available to its customers by partnering with other tech companies, rather than acquiring or developing new functionality for its Farm Command platform.
In March this year, Farmers Edge partnered with IBM’s Weather Company to integrate on-farm hyperlocal weather data into its precision agri platform. At the time of the agreement, Farmers Edge chief executive Wade Barnes told Agri Investor new on-farm data sources would be particularly useful for customers in data-poor areas of Canada, Brazil, Australia and Russia where the company is expanding its presence.
“I think that most of the other companies in the precision ag side of things are going to really struggle to operate outside of the five or six major [US] corn states and be able to operate in more of a data-sparse environment,” he said.
In addition to partnering with Green Aero Tech and the Weather Company, Farmers Edge has brought on former executives from Archer Daniels Midland, DuPont and Monsanto to help guide its expansion efforts.
Green Aero Tech, based in Canada, provides drone technology for use in construction, engineering and civil administration.