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BASF and Salient Predictions agreement pairs long-range weather forecasting with digital farming

Salient Predictions’ technology provides weather forecasting almost 12 months in advance with double the accuracy of current services.

BASF has signed a global commercial agreement with Salient Predictions, Inc. (Salient) to provide customers with access to accurate long-range, seasonal weather forecasting data to further enable precise agronomic decisions.

The decision to use Salient services was based on its demonstrated ability to provide the best long-range and seasonal weather forecasting, with up to double the accuracy rate compared with other available services, say officials for both firms. Salient achieves this by leveraging proprietary algorithms based on a wide range of climate predictors, including a core focus on ocean data such as sea surface salinity readings, that can uniquely extract predictive signals from long-range weather patterns, say Salient officials. 

“Providing farmers with access to even better data that optimizes crop production is our goal and what motivates us to continue exploring and partnering with innovative tech companies large and small,” said Jeff Spencer, global technology & data lead, BASF Digital Farming, in a news release. “The weather data provided by Salient uses machine learning and is informed by a wide range of additional, unique sources to further improve its accuracy. We are confident that Salient’s forecasting data, when integrated with our advanced agronomic decision-making engine, will be of great benefit to farmers.”

Ordinary weather forecasting model accuracy is good out to about 10 days, but then degrades to mostly a coin-flip, meaning 50%, at timescales beyond two weeks, says Raymond Schmitt, president and cofounder of Salient Predictions.

“After years of research on the role of the ocean in the climate system, we have developed a unique suite of environmental parameters that, when combined with state-of-the-art machine learning techniques, enables vastly improved weather forecasts of temperature and precipitation from a minimum of three weeks up to a year ahead,” Schmitt said in a news release. “The system has proven superior in open competition and through a rigorous comparison with other products in decades of hindcasts. Better forecast accuracy is a critical tool for finding ways to drive resiliency and profit across industries, and to solve climate change challenges more broadly. We look forward to helping BASF Digital Farming customers better prepare for the vagaries of future weather.”

Long-range and seasonal weather forecasting data provided by Salient Predictions will be integrated into BASF Digital Farming’s agronomic decision engine by March 2021, with Xarvio users expected to benefit by the end of this year.

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