The New York Times
The push by “Big Data” to remake the industrial economy has taken a big step forward with Monsanto’s plans to buy Climate Corp.
Monsanto, which announced the purchase last week, said it was paying $930 million in cash for the company, which looks at data like historical rainfall and soil quality to help farmers predict crop yields. Monsanto hopes to apply Climate Corp.’s data analysis insight across the company to create what a Monsanto executive called “the next level of agriculture.”
“A farmer should be able to grow on farmland square meter by square meter, for lots more yield, planting seeds at different rates for each meter,” said Kerry J. Preete, Monsanto’s executive vice president for strategy. “We’re a data company at heart, breeding seeds and helping farmers optimize yields and manage risk.”
Last year, Monsanto paid $250 million for Precision Planting, a company that enables farmers to plant seeds in various depths and spaces, almost by the square meter, so parts of a farm can get different treatment. Preete said Monsanto saw this as a first step in developing two-way farm machinery systems that take up and receive data to give farmers a better sense of what to plant and how much water and fertilizer to use.
Monsanto also plans to go international with the crop insurance products that Climate Corp. bases on a wealth of public data on rainfall, temperature and soil types.