• Jun 21, 2017

Making Waves in Irrigation-Management Technology

The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, recently announced its acquisition of HydroBio, an agriculture software company based in Denver, Colorado. HydroBio uses a combination of satellite imagery, soil data and hyperlocal weather data to provide irrigation insights for farmers to help improve crop water-use efficiency.
The Climate Corporation’s Climate FieldView™ application is a WinField® United partnered app that can be downloaded through Answer Tech®.
What affect might this acquisition have on The Climate Corporation’s breadth of services? And how could it affect the Climate FieldView™ application? Here are some observations.
Synergistic rainfall and irrigation data
The Climate Corporation made a huge splash when it began focusing on the effect of rainfall on crops and looking specifically at field-level weather. The company saw that all fields are not created equal; that different soil types affect how rain water flows through the soil profile; and that rainfall can vary greatly throughout a county, section or field. It also focused exclusively on natural rainfall.
The acquisition of HydroBio will allow The Climate Corporation to monitor how much water each area of a field is taking up — through rainfall and through irrigation. Pairing The Climate Corporation’s in-season imagery and weather expertise with HydroBio’s unique irrigation-focused data analytics and satellite imagery capabilities has the potential to help the company achieve more meaningful insights into the future of sustainable agriculture.  
A broader field view
Adding water management to the capabilities in Climate FieldView™ provides the opportunity to achieve a new level of insight. Farmers can begin monitoring not only how each area of the field uses water, but also how each hybrid differs in its water uptake. According to the company’s news release, HydroBio’s “unique data-driven irrigation management platform turns satellite images into actionable information, builds custom irrigation prescriptions for optimized water application and provides crop health monitoring throughout the growing season for enhanced productivity” potential.
One of the biggest benefits I see is the integration of HydroBio’s algorithms into the Climate FieldView™ Nitrogen Advisor. Water plays a big role in determining how nitrogen moves through the soil. Understanding how much water is available and where the water is located in the soil profile allows users to determine where nitrogen has moved.
Effect on sustainability practices
Optimal water management can substantially help farmers who use these platforms to increase their sustainability, by informing them about when and how much water to apply, and creating a variable-rate application map. In the past, farmers would apply a flat rate of water throughout the field. With the advanced monitoring that will now be offered by The Climate Corporation, a farmer need only apply the amount of water that’s needed.
Stay tuned for more information.