DuPont Co., the most valuable U.S. chemical company, is collaborating with Deere & Co. to sell software intended to boost crop yields, a move that may challenge Monsanto Co. as it expands into the same area.
DuPont’s Pioneer seed unit will combine its Field360 software with Wireless Data Transfer technology from Deere, the world’s largest maker of agricultural equipment. Uploading data from the field as it’s collected can help growers make better decisions on seeds, fertilizer and other inputs, Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont said today in a statement.
The Deere partnership bolsters DuPont’s farm-data offerings to better compete with Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company. Monsanto last month bought The Climate Corp. for $930 million to provide farmers with weather and field data, and last year it paid $210 million for Precision Planting LLC to boost yields with variable planting technology.
DuPont uses GPS and tractor data to map such factors as grain moisture, historical yields and nutrient deficiencies. The data allows DuPont to advise growers on seed variety selection, on the timing of planting and harvest and on fields with low yields, said Joe Foresman, DuPont Pioneer director of services.
"What we are doing today with Deere enables us to do that faster," Foresman said by phone. "The key thing here is speed and getting to a point where a farmer realizes benefits immediately."
DuPont used customers’ data to map 20 million acres in the past year, including 12 million acres during last year’s harvest and 8 million during spring planting, Foresman said. The company provided 1.5 million acres of variable rate seeding prescriptions through its Field360 product, for which it charges $500 per farm, he said.
DuPont plans to charge more after upgrades to the service are announced early next year, Foresman said. Monsanto next year will start charging $10 per acre for its precision planting product, which improved corn yields 5 to 10 bushels an acre in farmer trials this year, the company said Oct 2.
DuPont doesn’t have an exclusive agreement with Deere and plans to work with other equipment makers, Foresman said. Terms of DuPont’s agreement with Moline, Illinois-based Deere weren’t disclosed.