Monsanto will start selling monitoring data to farmers as a way to maintain its annual global revenue of US$26 billion and leadership position in the agricultural business.
During a visit to Brazil, Hugh Grant, global president of the company, said this is a way to anticipate trends in the reduction of use of chemical agri-inputs on crops.
Meanwhile, according to the executive, the company has tested the service, which will be offered for free for now. However, the idea is to launch a system that will offer crop monitoring by satellite. The price would be around US$3 per acre (equivalent to 0.4 hectare) and each property could have access to the data through an application. This service was enabled by the acquisition of The Climate Company in 2013 for almost US$1 billion.
“Through this service, which will offer a satellite over flight by the property, the rural producer will be aware of conditions to learn if the plagues can start affecting the plants. Within the next 12 months, we believe we could say which specific plagues are affecting the crop,” said Grant.
The global president of Monsanto affirmed that the reduction in use of chemical products for agricultural production is a no-return way.
More and more specific management of the crops is an issue of worry for the farm business, said Fábio Solferini, president of the INTL FCStone consultancy.
“Herbicides today are spread through tractors commanded by GPS, reaching only plants that have problems,” says Solferini. For the executive, when migrating to supplying data to rural producers, Monsanto has conditions to arrive first in a market that will have certain demand: “The proposal seems to be innovative.”
Currently, being the second global market for Monsanto, Brazil is winning in the development of products for the company. According to Grant, the merger with Bayer will create a global force that will invest nearly US$2.5 billion per year. The executive said the country is the main center of agriculture under the tropical weather and that the advances in yields here will motivate the extension of research that can be applied to other regions with hot weather, such as Africa.
Though the development of technology itself is concentrated in the United States, the tests on Brazilian soil of Intacta soybeans require a transfer of resources and professionals to follow the test. Till date, around 300 people have been involved in the work that is spread over 20 experimental stations in Brazil.