March 16, 2023


Bayer and Microsoft launch new cloud-based solutions for agri-food sector



Bayer has launched AgPowered Services, cloud-based solutions for the agri-food sector, in combination with the new Microsoft Azure Data Manager for Agriculture, following a 2021 strategic partnership announced between both companies, AgriBusiness Global reported.


Companies that develop on-farm technologies can use Microsoft Azure Data Manager for Agriculture, and license additional capabilities from Bayer AgPowered Services to create digital tools that support favourable agronomic outcomes for farmers.


Innovators can concentrate on providing differentiated value thanks to Azure Data Manager for Agriculture's readymade capabilities and solid infrastructure, which combine decades of Bayer's agricultural expertise with Microsoft cloud solutions. Full commercial availability will be announced at a later date.


Dr Robert Reiter, Head of R&D for Bayer's Crop Science Division, said modern agriculture and food production generate a tremendous amount of valuable data that can increase productivity and sustainability, but the cost of developing digital solutions from scratch is high, and this data is frequently disjointed and inapplicable throughout the value chain.


Dr Reiter said Bayer's brand-new cloud-based solutions assist in overcoming these difficulties. On top of the world's largest collection of agriculture data, customers can use the infrastructure and capabilities to create their own digital solutions and products.


The ecosystem that is supported by these cloud services enables greater transparency throughout the entire value chain of food production. By enabling end-to-end interoperability, this transparency would make it simpler for consumer goods companies to collaborate with growers based on the methods used in crop production and assist customers in making more informed purchase decisions based on origin practises. The potential to support sustainable agriculture and food production can ultimately benefit companies, farmers, consumers, and the planet.


Companies and organisations will be able to add their own solutions to Azure Data Manager for Agriculture and make them available for licencing in addition to using the platform to create their own internal and customer-facing digital platforms, much like how Bayer is offering these initial AgPowered Services as an add-on to Azure Data Manager's robust infrastructure and core capabilities: Bayer Imagery Insights, Bayer Growing Degree Day Calculation, and Bayer Crop Water Use Maps.


Bayer Imagery Insights can track crop health over time and quickly spot problem fields using a series of satellite images and supplementary information in individually chosen geographic areas.


Bayer Growing Degree Day Calculation can calculate for Growing Degree Days, a crucial input for models that examine the timing of factors that affect crop growth, health, and output as well as the emergence and development of significant crop insect pests and diseases.


Bayer Crop Water Use Maps allows users to access map layers and supporting data that help define how much water a crop uses or loses over the course of a day. Users will be able to understand crop transpiration and evaporation levels as well as areas where crops may lose out due to water shortages, which is a crucial factor in irrigation planning.


Data models that drive Bayer AgPowered Services are built with publicly available data such as weather data, remote sensing such as satellite imagery, decades of rich agronomic data from Bayer research and market development efforts, and aggregated, anonymized, and enhanced data from Climate FieldView, Bayer's leading digital farming solution with subscriptions spanning more than 220 million acres in over 20 countries. All cloud-based solutions are designed to meet or exceed global data privacy requirements, storing data on the world's most trusted cloud with industry-leading security features.


Farmers who want to track disease, pest, and weed pressure, apply precision inputs, identify crop growth and production patterns, measure potential yield, track and capture carbon emissions, and analyse heat stress impact, rainfall, hail, and weather data can benefit from Azure Data Manager solutions. In addition to bringing the first AgPowered Services to the cloud, Bayer is leveraging Azure Data Manager capabilities to power insights in FieldView.


Value chain partners will be able to apply insights into supply projections, sustainable sourcing, and ESG reporting by utilising these cloud-based enterprise solutions. They will also be able to meet rapidly changing consumer preferences for fresh, high-quality ingredients thanks to data-driven insights that allow for the optimization of harvest, transport, and ripening processes, as well as advanced food ingredient traceability.


Jeremy Williams, head of climate and digital farming at Bayer's Crop Science Division, said the company expects to see a value chain that is more predictable, transparent, and importantly, where value is shared all the way back to producers with high-quality data fueling insights.


Williams said this is how the company incentivises sustainable business models to drive these regenerative agriculture ecosystem benefits, giving growers meaningful options to connect with supply chains that begin on their farms.


The collaboration between Microsoft and Bayer is a significant strategic step towards achieving Bayer's ambitious target of 100% digitally enabled sales in its Crop Science division by 2030, as well as accelerating the company's ability to bring new value and deliver outcomes-based, digitally enabled solutions to farmer customers. Bayer is dedicated to setting a new industry standard in data-driven, digital innovation.


-      AgriBusiness Global

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