Monsanto is using a weather-monitoring system from a Madison-based startup to improve farming operations in Argentina.
Understory’s weather network relies on a distributed system of sensors that provide insight to customers on rainfall, temperature, humidity and evapotranspiration — a measure of moisture loss in plants. It can also display where plants are in their life cycles.
Monsanto will use this information to inform decision-making related to irrigation, seed production and harvesting.
Giovanni Piccinni, Monsanto’s global supply chain field optimization lead, says: “We anticipate this being an important and valuable partnership.”
“Understory provides the only technology necessary to make hyper-local weather valuable for operations management in agricultural areas where local weather information is not accurate,” Piccinni said. “With localized accurate data, growers can streamline operational challenges and boost economic outcomes.”
The main difference between Understory’s weather system and traditional weather satellites is proximity. While the startup’s systems are located near where the plants are growing, satellites are orbiting the earth thousands of miles away.
That means Understory’s network can yield more precise data than broad regional projections.
Monsanto and Understory had already been running a pilot partnership in Hawaii over the past year. With that testing done, the system is going live in Córdoba and Buenos Aires — two corn-growing regions of Argentina.
“Argentina is an agricultural giant that produces 22 percent of the world’s soybeans, yet many growers there, and around the world, still lack data insights due to the remote, harsh farming conditions,” said Alex Kubicek, CEO of Understory.
The Madison startup also uses its sensor arrays to determine weather-related damage for the insurance industry, delivering detailed reports on wind and hail damage.
News of this partnership comes several days after German multinational company Bayer won European Union antitrust approval for the $62.5 billion purchase of competitor Monsanto.
See more from Understory: http://understoryweather.com/
–By Alex Moe