Monsanto partners with hyperlocal weather data startup

Monsanto partners with hyperlocal weather data startup

Business news |
By Rich Pell

While Argentina produces 22% of the world’s soybeans, say the companies, many growers there – and around the world – still lack data insights due to the remote, harsh farming conditions. In the collaboration, Monsanto will use Understory’s solar-powered weather network to provide on-the-ground insights into localized weather in key agriculture regions in Argentina to drive growers’ decisions and optimize high value operations.

“Understory provides the only technology necessary to make hyper-local weather valuable for operations management in agricultural areas where local weather information is not accurate,” says Giovanni Piccinni, Global Supply Chain Field Optimization Lead, Monsanto. “With localized accurate data, growers can streamline operational challenges and boost economic outcomes. We anticipate this being an important and valuable partnership.”

The companies previously tested a pilot program of their partnership in Hawaii over the past year, refining weather data use in day-to-day grower operations. The new international expansion, says Understory, means unprecedented localized weather networks in corn growing regions in Córdoba and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Understory sites, installs, and operates the weather network, while providing a real-time data platform and API. In addition, its network can be integrated with any third-party sensors currently available on the market. Since Understory’s networks require no maintenance, they can be deployed in remote areas and remain untouched for over five years, says the company.

Each station in the network provides 50,000 measurements a second to power a fully built artificial intelligence core that provides precise hail, rainfall, temperature, humidity, evapotranspiration (moisture leaving the plant), and growing degree units (where a plant is in its lifecycle to determine best harvesting time). Data from the Understory networks then inform Monsanto’s decisions around irrigation, harvest dates and times, and seed production.

In the U.S., Understory has saturated networks deployed across five major metropolitan areas with plans to expand to 5,000 stations covering all at-risk areas by the end of 2019. In addition to agriculture, Understory provides damage analytics to P&C insurance industry to improve the claims experience for home and commercial properties. Understory plans to make its technology available to additional agricultural partners in the near future.


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