Farmers Edge is still on a roll.
The Winnipeg-based precision agriculture and data management company is partnering with The Weather Company, an IBM business and world’s largest weather firm.
The official announcement was set for March 15. It comes just two months after four prestigious companies — Japanese commodities trading and investment firm Mitsui, Toronto commercial real estate company Osmington and the Green Growth Fund operated by investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — said they would jointly invest $58 million in Farmers Edge, co-founded in Pilot Mound by Wade Barnes and Curtis MacKinnon in 2005.
“We’re extremely excited because The Weather Company is the largest weather company in the world and we think it has the best-quality forecast out there,” Farmers Edge chief operating officer Patrick Crampton said in an interview last week. “That combination of its hyper local forecast capabilities with our field-centric weather station network just re-enforces and builds on our commitment to having the right data to drive decisions on the farm.”
The Weather Company operates the Weather Channel and Weather Underground.
Farmers Edge, which started off with variable-rate fertilizer applications, has expanded into soil sampling and analysis, in-field telematics and data transfer, high-resolution satellite imagery and field-centric data analytics. It’s also expanding its services in Canada as well as in the United States, Brazil, Russia and Australia and plans to expand to other countries. Farmers Edge manages around four million acres now, but the company has said it is shooting for 35 million by 2021.
Enhancing real-time meteorological data is another step towards the digitization of agriculture, an industry in the midst of a radical transformation, the two companies said in a news release.
“Through our partnership with Farmers Edge, we hope to help the agriculture industry leverage the most precise weather data possible in order to optimize critical decisions,” Mark Gildersleeve, president of Business Solutions, The Weather Company, said in a release.
By later this spring, Farmers Edge says it will have the largest real-time weather-monitoring network in Canada with more than 1,000 automated stations.
“We’re taking a hyper local forecast and combining it with our network data to enhance the predictive modelling for our farmer customers,” he said.
“This will absolutely help with crop stage modelling, pest modelling and you combine the field-centric data from our network with the forecasting from The Weather Company with the imagery we get and it eventually builds towards yield predictions and enhanced products like that in the future as well.
“The Weather Company partnership is just another addition to the strong partnerships we’ve been forming with Mitsui, Kleiner Perkins (Caufield & Byers), Osmington Investments and the work we’ve done with Dow on carbon credits in Brazil, Delta Ag in Australia,” he said. “It’s strengthening that partnership network Farmers Edge is working with and I really believe this is going to lead to more innovation in the future.”