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

As ag tech experts from around the world converge on San Francisco this week for the World Agri-Tech Summit, a key theme is emerging across the various sessions – collaboration.

“Change is extremely hard, and collaboration is necessary to move technology adoption forward,” says Ros Harvey, CEO and founder of The Yield.

Prospera and Valmont Industries, the parent company of Valley Irrigation, are coming together to deliver a solution that enables farmers to get more crop per drop.

“Ag uses two thirds of the available freshwater,” says Stephen Kaniewski, president & CEO of Valmont Industries USA. “The impetus is on ag to use this precious commodity carefully and closely as we ramp up production to feed a growing population.”

To achieve that, the pair are transforming the center pivot from solely an irrigation machine to an autonomous crop management tool.

Combining Expertise

With more than 60,000 connected devices globally and a network of more than 500 dealers worldwide, the intelligence shared between Valley’s connected devices and the pivot, along with the integration of data science, machine learning, and AI, enables the two companies to develop real-time crop diagnoses and irrigation recommendations.

Founded in 2014, Israel-based Prospera has developed proven analytics, algorithms, and data layering to provide growers with irrigation and crop growth recommendations. Its technology currently monitors over $5 billion of greenhouse production. The partnership will build on Prospera’s technology and expands its application to large-scale fields.

By integrating Prospera’s artificial intelligence technologies with center pivot irrigation, the result is Anomaly Detection, which uses inputs from the field and the grower, to deliver proper water, fertigation, and chemigation. This self-learning machine is the fundamental building block for growers entering into AI functionality. Launching in the spring of 2019, this technology provides visual detection of anomalies or issues, mitigates risks in the field, and helps the grower with his irrigation and crop management practices. 

“Water remains our focus, as it is the No. 1 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,” Kaniewski says. “We can equip the structure to see what a grower may not be able to detect, arming them with critical information that delivers more crop precision, saving time, lowering costs, and increasing yield.”

Anomaly Detection will be available from Valley for all brands of pivots through a subscription-based model. The two companies collectively plan to invest more than $40 million over the next three years to develop the technology. The joint machine learning technology is targeted to reach 1 million acres by 2020.

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