Bayer combines ag expertise with Microsoft’s cloud solutions

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Bayer combines ag expertise with Microsoft’s cloud solutions

Bayer has launched its AgPowered Services which provide cloud-based solutions that will work with the Microsoft Azure Data Manager for agriculture. The two companies announced a strategic partnership in 2021. 

The enterprise solution will provide ready-to-use capabilities for businesses and organizations to license and use for their own internal or customer-facing digital solutions. 

Azure Data Manager for Agriculture will combine Bayer’s decades of agricultural expertise with Microsoft’s cloud solutions. While initial previews have already started, full commercial availability of both the Azure Data Manager and AgPowered Services will be announced at a later date. 

“Only innovation can ensure global food security while protecting the planet. Modern agriculture and food production generate a tremendous amount of valuable data that can drive productivity and sustainability," said Robert Reiter, head of R&D for Bayer’s Crop Science Division, in a news release.

"However, this data is often disconnected, not useable throughout the value chain, and the costs to build digital solutions from scratch are high.

"Our new cloud-based solutions help overcome these challenges. Customers can use the infrastructure and capabilities to build their own digital solutions and products on top of the most robust collection of ag data in the world,” said Reiter.

Companies that develop on-farm technologies can build on the new cloud infrastructure and core capabilities from Microsoft (Azure Data Manager for Agriculture) and license additional capabilities from Bayer (Bayer AgPowered Services) to build digital tools that support favorable agronomic outcomes for growers. 

Similarly, consumer goods companies can use cloud offerings to build solutions that provide insight into nutrients, sustainability, and production practices to build trust with consumers, stakeholders, and investors.

The programs also support an ecosystem that allows for greater transparency along the food production value chain. This transparency would make it easier for consumer goods companies to partner with growers based on how crops are raised. 

“In order to enable a more sustainable future in agriculture, we must scale innovation which starts with data," said Ralph Haupter, President of Microsoft EMEA, in a news release. "Our partnership with Bayer allows us to benefit from each other’s experiences to empower organizations to address challenges in farming today.”

Companies will also be able to bring their own solutions to Azure Data Manager for Agriculture and make them available for licensing. Bayer is offering these initial AgPowered Services as add-ons to Azure Data Manager's robust infrastructure and core capabilities:

  • Bayer Imagery Insights – Track crop health over time and quickly identify areas in fields that need attention through a series of satellite images and supporting data within individually selected geographic areas.
  • Bayer Growing Degree Day Calculation – Provide a calculation for Growing Degree Days, a critical input for models that focus on identifying key timing of variables affecting crop growth, health and output, as well as the emergence and development of important crop insect pests and diseases.
  • Bayer Crop Water Use Maps – Gain access to map layers and supporting data that help define the amount of water a crop is using or losing during a 24-hour period. Users will be able to understand crop evaporation and transpiration levels and potential crop loss areas due to lack of water, which is a key driver for irrigation planning.

Using these cloud-based enterprise solutions, value chain partners will be able to apply insights into supply projections, sustainable sourcing, and ESG reporting and meet quickly-changing consumer preferences with data-driven insights. 

Solutions built on Azure Data Manager can benefit farmers seeking 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 analyze heat stress impact, rainfall, hail, and weather data. In addition to bringing the first AgPowered Services to the cloud offering, Bayer is using capabilities from Azure Data Manager to power insights in FieldView.

“This is an important step towards accelerating the impact of big data and agriculture. With high-quality data fueling insights, we expect to see a value chain that is more predictable, more transparent, and importantly, where value is shared all the way back to producers,” said Jeremy Williams, head of Climate and Digital Farming at Bayer’s Crop Science Division, in a news release. 

“This is how we incentivize sustainable business models to drive these regenerative agriculture ecosystem benefits, providing growers options to connect with supply chains that start on their farms meaningfully.”

The partnership between Microsoft and Bayer step forward in accomplishing Bayer’s ambitious target of 100-percent digitally enabled sales in its Crop Science division by 2030 and accelerating its ability to bring new value and deliver outcomes-based, digitally enabled solutions to farmer customers.

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