Opinion: Agtech Boom Is Yet To Come

Many agronomists, farmers, and VC groups monitoring the agtech world are proclaiming the startup boom is over. Investments are down, acquisitions are high, and many startups go bust.

Perhaps rapid, new growth in the space is fading, but I disagree with calling the space busted. We are simply entering a new leg of the race. Here are the reasons why this is the case:

No widescale adoption

Despite major use of data by growers, we still don’t have that wide-sweeping adoption in the grower market place.

Figure-1-Precision-Ag-Survey
Source: “2017 Precision Dealership Survey: Making the Turn Toward Decision Agriculture,” CropLife/Purdue University.

 

Part of that is because for years we’ve been hearing about how difficult it is to acquire good clean ag data. We’ve had trouble transmitting it, gathering it, and QCing it. Growers have grown sick of hearing about all the data we need to enhance profits and yields.

No easy, simple solution

Predictive analytics or any type of data science isn’t easy. Farmers have been looking for the “Uber of agriculture.” Many aren’t easy or complete solutions, and the lack of a simple tool has led to skepticism of anyone entering the market.

Too many choices

It’s not just that many options aren’t easy to use that has led to low adoption; it is also that there are simply too many choices. Growers feel overwhelmed by the number of startups. Because of this, many growers won’t even entertain a solution unless it’s free, requires no extra time, or comes recommended from a trusted adviser. That thick wall of adoption has led to the general slowing of new agtech startups.

Growers have been saying: “Have a well-established trusted adviser recommend it. Give out data products for free for a period of time to prove they work. Have solutions that require little added time to the day.” The groups that are most capable of meeting that adoption criteria have historically been the agrochemical-seed companies.

Consolidation

BASF, Bayer, Dow Dupont, and John Deere have led the year in acquisitions. These groups have been acquiring startups and are amassing very large and unique data sets. Other VC backed startups have grown quite large in data acquisition in their own right to compete against the traditional Big 6. They do this by acquiring data through a grass roots approach like Farmers Edge, Farmers Business Network, and FarmLogs. Think of it as the sequoias of the ag revolution have started to dominate the forest. And, believe it or not, that’s exciting for more traditional tech companies to come in to grow the industry, but in ways these ag companies haven’t seen before.

What’s next

In this new growth stage of ag, partnerships with large data companies, not acquisitions, are going to be what changes in agtech. Many agtech companies have achieved their growth and adoption by growing organically. Now, they’re going to need to find ways to compete with fewer players but ones that have capital and data that can grow rapidly.

In order to do that, agtech is going to attract outsiders from Big Tech that they will need to partner with, and that’s going to be uncomfortable. How the major agtech players open up and partner will likely determine which ones win the ongoing adoption and retention battle.

Leave a Reply to Noel MAGNIN Cancel reply

One comment on “Opinion: Agtech Boom Is Yet To Come

  1. Yes capital/investments is one key. The other key is real innovations with factual ROI. Problem are : (1) there is no “one size fits all” solution, as solutions require to be site-adapted and (2) one need to acquire diferent data from traditional NDVI and at precise time frames.
    Solutions exist but traditional agronomists have no clue about which data can bring useful information. The cropXenvironment relationship is highly variable so you need to collect and integrate correctly THE GOOD DATA, not any data. A deep understanding of this cropXenvironment is required for precision ag projects to thrive and bring high ROIs. Finding out which is THE GOOD DATA in particular situations requires experience and imagination. I know noone who has this experience and imagination else he/she would have already taken the highway to the precision ag market.
    I am readily available for bringing succesful solutions for precision ag projects, Feel free to contact me with proper propositions

Business Management Stories
Business ManagementPrecisionAg.com: Top 10 Most Popular Stories in 2017
December 28, 2017
The editors at PrecisionAg.com always get excited putting together our website’s list of the most-read stories of the year. To Read More
Wabash-Valley-Services
Business ManagementWabash Valley Service Co.: Back to the Basics
December 19, 2017
Wabash Valley Service Co. has been at the grindstone on precision agronomy for as long as almost any cooperative service organization Read More
Sentera drone
Business ManagementAgTech Conference of the South Coming to Alpharetta, GA
December 13, 2017
Tech Alpharetta, with the support of the city of Alpharetta, has announced the AgTech Conference of the South to be Read More
Blue River Tech See and Spray prototype in CA
Business ManagementIs the Agtech Startup Boom Over?
November 13, 2017
In the past few months there has been a flurry of acquisitions of agtech startups by major players in the Read More
Trending Articles
John-Deere-Cab-GPS
Data ManagementPrecision Ag Hardware and Software: A Little Off-Season Maintenance Goes A Long Way
January 11, 2018
All service technicians have heard this line. Most often when spring makes its anticipated return to our lives. It is Read More
Anez-Consulting-Paul-Anez-and-Michael-Dunn
Service ProvidersAnez Consulting: Focus On Fertility
January 9, 2018
Central Minnesota features variability aplenty when it comes to soil characteristics and topography, from flat, black expanses rich in organic Read More
Agrishow2017
Americas5 Best Ag Tech Shows in Brazil
January 8, 2018
Brazil continues to demonstrate its potential in agriculture. Several international companies are investing in our country because we have a Read More
Farmer and computer
Service ProvidersPrecision Agriculture Writers Wanted To Join Our Team in 2018
December 10, 2017
About The Opportunity: PrecisionAg.com is looking for people to join our team in 2018 and submit original content to our Read More
Harvested-Corn-Field-Clouds
Data ManagementWeather Services Advance Precision Agriculture
December 4, 2017
Some estimates suggest over half of growers’ activities are impacted by weather conditions, from field workability to fertility management to harvest Read More
Wheat-an-oats-Daniel-X-ONeil
Data ManagementWill Open-Source Finally Unlock Ag Technology’s Potential?
November 28, 2017
To Aaron Ault’s eyes, ag technology right now is something like a walled garden — not unlike the Microsoft of Read More
Latest News
Data ManagementBlockchain: Making Data Cleaner, More Secure
January 16, 2018
Probably most professionals who deal with business data have at least heard the term “blockchain” bantered about as potentially the Read More
Soybean-field-clouds-Photo-courtesy-of-Earl-R-Shumaker
Data ManagementBetting on Rain? The Accuracy and Reliability of Precip…
January 16, 2018
For you sports junkies out there, if I could prove to you that I can correctly predict winners and losers Read More
center-pivot-irrigation-drop-sprinklers-on-corn
Precision IrrigationFinding Your Precision Ag Mindset
January 15, 2018
A precision mindset is the most important requirement for successful precision ag technology adoption. One of my first VRI (variable Read More
Drone-and-operator-Photo-courtesy-of-Kray-Technologies
DronesCrop Protection Application by Drone: A Q&A with Kr…
January 15, 2018
January is a busy month for agricultural companies. It’s a month that strong sales can set the mood for the Read More
Data ManagementAgGateway Grain Traceability Proof-of-Concept Seeks Ind…
January 15, 2018
AgGateway’s Precision Agriculture and Grain & Feed councils have issued a call for participation for a proof-of-concept initiative in AgGateway’s Read More
John-Deere-Cab-GPS
Data ManagementPrecision Ag Hardware and Software: A Little Off-Season…
January 11, 2018
All service technicians have heard this line. Most often when spring makes its anticipated return to our lives. It is Read More
Corn-Planter
Grower Services & SolutionsCorn Planter: The Train of Consequences
January 11, 2018
It’s always planter season in our shop but now that harvest is done the corn planter is the next piece Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversSmart Ag Announces Driverless Tractor Automation Platfo…
January 11, 2018
An Iowa technology company has unlocked the tremendous potential for automation in agriculture by developing the first cloud-based platform for Read More
Anez-Consulting-Paul-Anez-and-Michael-Dunn
Service ProvidersAnez Consulting: Focus On Fertility
January 9, 2018
Central Minnesota features variability aplenty when it comes to soil characteristics and topography, from flat, black expanses rich in organic Read More
Agrible
Grower Services & SolutionsAgrible to Launch Retailer Services in 2018
January 9, 2018
It’s a new year, which means new market challenges. Full service retailers are searching for ways to differentiate themselves and Read More
jeremy-speaking
Grower Services & SolutionsGrower and Precision Ag Services: Opportunities Lost
January 9, 2018
I often spend time with growers, talking about their operations, and the processes they go through each season to do Read More
Winters-Farming-farm-manager-Alex-Bergwerff-and-Ranch-Systems-marketing-and-business-development-manager-Hylon-Kaufmann
Precision IrrigationInside California Irrigation: Winters Farming
January 9, 2018
As many of us already know, almonds tend to get a bad rap for their water-use efficiency — or some Read More
Sentera software
DronesSentera Offering Elevation Data Mapping Via AgVault
January 9, 2018
Sentera announces the availability of elevation maps within the Sentera AgVault platform, offering agronomists, crop consultants, and growers additional field Read More
Industry NewsRaven, South Dakota State University Link Up: What You …
January 9, 2018
On Tuesday afternoon Raven and South Dakota State University (SDSU) held a press conference on the SDSU campus in Sioux Read More
Agrishow2017
Americas5 Best Ag Tech Shows in Brazil
January 8, 2018
Brazil continues to demonstrate its potential in agriculture. Several international companies are investing in our country because we have a Read More
Aarav-Unmanned-Systems-team
Asia12 Indian Agritech Startups to Watch Out For in 2018
January 3, 2018
Farming is a profession of hope. And India holds the record for the second-largest agricultural land in the world, with Read More
Amazone-Amaspot
Australia/New ZealandAmazone Set to Release Weed-Detecting Sprayer in Austra…
January 2, 2018
European farm machinery giant Amazone is set to release its UX trailed weed-detecting sprayer in Australia, which it says can Read More
drone-wheat-field
DronesAgricultural Drones: From Detection to Diagnosis
January 2, 2018
There is not a remote sensing platform that is innately better at all things: satellites, manned aircraft, and unmanned aerial Read More