Q&A: What BASF’s Latest Foray into Precision Ag Means For Growers

In late April, BASF agreed to acquire U.S. precision ag player ZedX, a leader in the development of agronomic weather, crop, and pest models that can rapidly translate data into insights for more efficient agricultural production.

We sat down with Jeffrey Spencer, BASF’s Development Lead for the Digital Farming Group to discuss what the acquisition means for both growers and the German chemical giant.

Can you tell us more about the products being acquired, and are they considered “add-on” products that will fit existing BASF products?

First, maybe a little bit of perspective: What we call digital farming externally – our digital farming brand – is Maglis. We began working on Maglis, and its development and conceptualization in 2013. At that time we started looking for different development partners. Whether it be in the case of ZedX, a partner to deliver modeling and help answer questions for farmers, or suppliers of various data sources. We came into touch with ZedX back then and have been partnered together closely since 2013. As to the question whether it is an add-on to existing solution, ZedX has actually already delivered many  different types of solutions to us, and one of those is directly into Maglis. So the types of things you would see are decisions and support tools around crop protection products – how can we best time an application to help make it the most efficient for the grower. That could be weather modeling, it could be crop modeling, or pest and disease modeling, so that’s really where we see that strong fit within Maglis.

Will BASF then be applying the complete portfolio of ZedX products?

ZedX has been in the ag industry, specifically in the area of digital farming, for many years, and they have a lot of different products. Some of them are certainly complementary to ours. We would look to integrate them into our digital farming solutions, such as their crop and pest and disease models. Other solutions they have we would evaluate on a case-by-case basis. They have drift modeling tools, and even their own digital farming platform called AgFleet. We definitely would be acquiring all of those tools and all of the technology they have generated over the past 30-plus years, and look for best places to continue to use it, or, if it’s a direct overlap with one of our tools, maybe we collaborate together based on what we’ve learned on our paths thus far. With AgFleet, which is an example of a farm management or precision farming tool, and Maglis, there’s a good chance we can learn from each other in terms of what we’ve seen in the market and how we can improve.

How important would the drift modeling tool you mentioned considering the new 2,4-D and dicamba technologies debuting?

In addition to programs like our On Target Application Academy, the drift modeling tool has the potential to become another resource from BASF to assist growers with proper and successful application. The tool is still in development, but it helps the growers with the application timing. The tool will look at environmental conditions to make sure that when a grower is making an application they do it the most sustainable way, number one, making sure conditions are ideal for an application. Then number two, the tool will help make sure they get the highest yield benefit. It connects ZedX’s expertise in crop protection together with the application of products, and then looks for the right conditions to ensure a safe application, while also delivering maximum benefit for the grower.

Will BASF begin writing and delivering agronomic recommendations directly to growers via Maglis, or will you use the ZedX integration to enable retail chain partners via Maglis to access the data layers to write recommendations?

We have a few different tools within Maglis. The one we launched last year in the U.S. is called Maglis Customer Navigator. The tool allows our innovation specialists in the U.S. to work together with growers and their preferred partners to create product recommendations. It’s a tool where we’d approach a grower and then work with them to tailor recommendations. We also piloted a tool in Canada called Maglis Crop Plan – this is where we could have a potential opportunity not only for a BASF person to go reach out to one of our growers, but it also enables an option where retailers, agronomists or advisers can also be a part of that discussion.  The clear answer is, we are looking at different tools that enable all of the key decision makers that a grower would talk to, whether it be us directly as BASF or somebody else that they may depend upon to help make those decisions – a retailer, agronomist, farm manager, or whomever it may be.

Read the full story on CropLife.com’s sister site AgribusinessGlobal.com.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Q&A: What BASF’s Latest Foray into Precision Ag Means For Growers

Data Management Stories
Young Corn Field
Data ManagementPurdue Online Tool to Help Farmers Make Precision Decisions, Keep Data Private
September 14, 2017
An innovative online tool developed by a Purdue University engineering professor will allow farmers to process data collected from their Read More
BASF Maglis grower retailer tablet
Data ManagementWhat Will Happen to My Data? Understanding Your Rights in Precision Agriculture
September 12, 2017
The use of precision agriculture-based decision making to determine fertilizer rates and hybrid types and planting rates is becoming more Read More
Data ManagementPrecision Farming: What’s Your Data Worth to You?
September 8, 2017
Today’s farm equipment today comes with more bells, whistles and blinking lights than Captain Nemo’s submarine, and most of those Read More
corn field
Data ManagementCan Artificial Intelligence Help Feed the World?
September 6, 2017
Editor’s note: Ryan Rakestraw from Monsanto Growth Ventures has teamed up with Amrit Acharya from Mckinsey to write the following Read More
Trending Articles
Farmer with iPad
Australia/New ZealandAgrian Expands into Australia
September 20, 2017
In line with a familiar growth trajectory, Agrian Inc. is moving into Australia with a physical support and sales presence Read More
John-Deere-labs
Tools & Smart EquipmentHow John Deere’s New AI Lab Is Designing Farm Equipment for a More Sustainable Future
September 15, 2017
On a block in San Francisco’s SoMa district, near LinkedIn’s headquarters and dozens of startups, a 180-year-old company best-known for Read More
BASF Maglis grower retailer tablet
Data ManagementWhat Will Happen to My Data? Understanding Your Rights in Precision Agriculture
September 12, 2017
The use of precision agriculture-based decision making to determine fertilizer rates and hybrid types and planting rates is becoming more Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversBlue River, Deere Deal Will Accelerate Farm Robot Innovation
September 11, 2017
No, Blue River Co-founder and CEO Jorge Heraud has not been deposed — Gaddafi-style — by big, bad corporate overlord Read More
Farming at Sunset
Business ManagementAgtech Issues: The Shiny Object Syndrome
September 6, 2017
Do you remember those cartoons where someone lures someone else by placing a piece of candy, small amount of money, Read More
AgQuip overview
Australia/New ZealandAgQuip 2017 Displays New Ag Technology in Australia
August 28, 2017
The annual AgQuip field days took place in Gunnedah, NSW on August 22-24. Being the largest agricultural field days in Read More
Latest News
deepfield-robotics-bonirob
Robotics/Labor SaversDeepfield Robotics to Showcase Precision Agriculture Te…
September 22, 2017
Deepfield Robotics is preparing to showcase its robotics and automation technologies for the agriculture market at the Agrilevante event, in Read More
Kray Drone Application
DronesCrop Spraying Drone Manufacturer Kray Technologies Gets…
September 22, 2017
Chernovetskyi Investment Group (CIG) has reached an agreement on investment into Kray Technologies company, which manufactures Kray Protection industrial robotic Read More
Imagery/SensingPlanet Announces New Hi-Res Imagery Products
September 21, 2017
Since our acquisition of Terra Bella, and the SkySat constellation of seven satellites, we’ve been focused on making this high-resolution Read More
Systems ManagementBayer Dismisses Antitrust Concerns about Digital Farmin…
September 20, 2017
Bayer said it was unable to propose the sale of any digital farming assets to allay EU concerns about its Read More
Farmer with iPad
Australia/New ZealandAgrian Expands into Australia
September 20, 2017
In line with a familiar growth trajectory, Agrian Inc. is moving into Australia with a physical support and sales presence Read More
Robotics Specialty Crops
EventsPrecision in Specialty Crops Gains Momentum
September 20, 2017
When John Deere acquired Blue River Technologies (BRT) recently, BRT’s See & Spray technology received plenty of play. Yet many Read More
Decision Support SoftwareSyngenta Helps Lead Efforts for Farm Management Softwar…
September 19, 2017
Ag data from tractors, combines, planters, and other farm machinery present a huge opportunity for growers to manage their operations Read More
Petra-Andren-Cicada-Innovations
Australia/New ZealandGrowLab’s Rocket Fuel for AgTech in Australia
September 19, 2017
Despite its superpower status as a producer and exporter of agricultural goods and services, up until now Australia has had Read More
CropIn-Team-Photo-credit-BW-Disrupt
AsiaCropIn Aims to be a Global Leader in AgTech Sector
September 19, 2017
Krishna Kumar created AgTech startup, CropIn Technology in 2010, along with co-founders Kunal Prasad and Chittranjan Jena. The trio went Read More
China-Beidou-Navigation-Satellite-System
AsiaChina’s Navigation System Gets Powerful Chip to I…
September 18, 2017
A new powerful chip technology has been introduced in China’s national satellite navigation system to provide high-precision positioning, according to Read More
Tablet Grower
Industry NewsFieldReveal Names Hesse New CEO
September 18, 2017
Matt Hesse has been selected as the Chief Executive Officer of FieldReveal, a newly launched joint venture formed to deliver Read More
John-Deere-labs
Tools & Smart EquipmentHow John Deere’s New AI Lab Is Designing Farm Equipment…
September 15, 2017
On a block in San Francisco’s SoMa district, near LinkedIn’s headquarters and dozens of startups, a 180-year-old company best-known for Read More
Wheat sunrise
Australia/New ZealandSparkLabs Group Launches an Agricultural Tech Accelerat…
September 15, 2017
SparkLabs Group, which claims to be the largest startup accelerator group in Asia, is stepping into agricultural tech with a Read More
Sensors/IoTCollaboration Leverages Internet of Things, Sensors in …
September 15, 2017
The vision of having license-free community sensor networks for agricultural users has made a giant leap closer to reality. A Read More
Young Corn Field
Data ManagementPurdue Online Tool to Help Farmers Make Precision Decis…
September 14, 2017
An innovative online tool developed by a Purdue University engineering professor will allow farmers to process data collected from their Read More
forbes-agtech-summit
Precision IrrigationImproving Water Management: Can Silicon Valley Help?
September 13, 2017
I recently attended the Forbes AgTech Summit in Salinas, CA, where roughly 50 start-up companies originating from Silicon Valley and Read More
Nate-Dorsey-Field-Trial-Curve-Compensation
Systems ManagementField Trial: Precision Application and Curve Compensati…
September 13, 2017
Several months ago I wrote an article about curve compensation in planters and how these systems can help create more Read More
Diamondback moth
Tools & Smart EquipmentTechAccel Invests in Unique Sprayable RNAi Pesticide Te…
September 12, 2017
TechAccel, the Kansas City-based technology and venture development company, has announced it has awarded the first grant under its “Path Read More