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Valmont, Prospera Partner to Develop Autonomous Crop-Management Technology Roadmap

A collaboration between Valmont Industries, Inc. (the parent company of Valley Irrigation) and Prospera Technologies, Inc. will transform the center pivot from an irrigation machine to an autonomous crop-management tool. 

“Water remains our focus, as it is the number one determinant of crop yield. Growers who use pivots have a natural advantage to use them as often as needed, given their constant placement on the field,” says Valmont President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen G. Kaniewski. “We can equip the structure to see what growers may not be able to detect, arming them with critical information that delivers more crop precision, saving time, lowering costs, and increasing yield.” 

An exclusive global partnership

With more than 60,000 connected devices and 500 dealers worldwide, Valley Irrigation has the ability to share intelligence between these devices and the pivot. By integrating Prospera’s data science, machine learning, and AI, it will enable real-time crop diagnoses and irrigation recommendations, which will generate greater returns for growers while reducing inputs.

Founded in 2014, Prospera is a machine vision and artificial intelligence (AI) company that specializes in ag data. This Israeli start-up has developed proven analytics, algorithms, and data layering to provide growers with irrigation and crop growth recommendations. 

The partnership will build on Prospera’s unique technology, which currently monitors over $5 billion of greenhouse production, and will expand its application to large-scale fields. 

Anomaly Detection Tool

Scheduled to launch in spring 2019, Anomaly Detection is a fundamental building block for growers beginning to use AI. This technology provides essential features to mitigate risks in the field by visually detecting anomalies or issues, which will ultimately help growers with their irrigation and crop-management practices. The tool will be available from Valley for all pivot brands through a subscription-based model. 

Launching specific technology products and product adoption, Kaniewski says, are two critical steps on the journey toward autonomous crop management. The joint machine-learning technology is targeted to reach 1 million acres by 2020. Over the next three years, both companies plan to collectively invest more than $40 million to develop the technology. 

“Like Valley, Prospera is committed to giving growers more data-based, actionable insights from the machines that span every inch of their fields, while reducing potential risks that can harm crop production,” says Prospera Chief Executive Officer Daniel Koppel.

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