Bayer has announced an efficiency boosting strategic partnership with Microsoft to build a new cloud-based set of digital tools and data science solutions for use in agriculture and adjacent industries. In a statement Bayer says the new collaboration will bring ‘new infrastructure and foundational capabilities to accelerate innovation, boost efficiency and support sustainability across value chains’. Specifically Bayer’s digital farming platform will be combined with Microsoft Azure to form the foundation for new digital solutions.
Agriculture and agribusinesses already benefit from a wide range of digital tools and data-powered insights. Bayer’s own Climate FieldView™ platform is used today on more than 180 million farming acres across more than 20 countries. Through farm vehicle and linked tablet installation it tracks seed population rates while planting, and yield levels during harvesting, providing visual insights at field and boundary level.
However, Bayer says there is work to do to optimise the entire food, feed, fuel and fiber value chain and its use of the precious natural resources required while ensuring broader efforts to combat climate change. Under the agreement, Bayer will work with Microsoft to co-develop new solutions that address critical industry scenarios such as farming operations, sustainable sourcing, manufacturing and supply chain improvement, and ESG monitoring and measurement.
The companies will do this by developing the infrastructure for digital farming solutions and data science capabilities. These new solutions and capabilities will be available to businesses – from start-ups to global enterprises – in agriculture and adjacent industries for use in their own offerings.
Bayer will also migrate its digital farming core capabilities to the new infrastructure for its own customer-facing solutions. The partnership builds upon a longstanding relationship between Bayer and Microsoft, and a shared commitment to data privacy, cyber security and customer trust.
“This partnership comes at a unique point in time where increased innovation is sorely needed across the food and fiber value chain,” said Liam Condon, Member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President of Bayer Crop Science. “As we cope with an ongoing global pandemic, fragile supply chains and the continuing climate catastrophe, status quo will not suffice. We need collaboration, shared vision and action. For those reasons, Bayer and Microsoft are taking action to make a positive impact, both through our own collaboration as well as by offering off-the-shelf infrastructure and digital capabilities for other companies to address the enormous challenges facing our society.”
“As agriculture and technology entrepreneurs and organizations work to advance the security and sustainability of the value chain – supporting farmers at its foundation – collaboration is required,” said Jeremy Williams, Head of The Climate Corporation and Bayer Digital Farming Solutions. “Bayer is pioneering digital innovation within agriculture. Microsoft is setting the standard in trusted, global cloud solutions. Together, we can innovate and implement as a team to deliver the food, feed, fiber and fuel needed to power our planet.”
“Like every industry, farming and the food sector are undergoing rapid digital transformation, from autonomous tractors, to AI-based digital advisories, and scalable precision agriculture,” said Ravi Krishnaswamy, Corporate Vice President, Azure Global Industry at Microsoft. “We’re excited to partner with Bayer to accelerate this transformation and unlock even greater agricultural innovation by bringing together data-driven insights with Bayer’s agronomic expertise and the power of Microsoft Azure.”
This partnership is a significant, strategic step forward in accomplishing Bayer’s ambitious target of 100-percent digitally enabled sales in the Crop Science division by 2030 and accelerating its ability to deliver outcomes-based, digitally enabled solutions to customers. Bayer is committed to setting a new standard for the industry in data-driven, digital innovation.