Feb 25, 2019Valmont, Prospera enter agreement to advance ML technology in agriculture
Valmont Industries Inc., an Omaha, Nebraska-based irrigation firm and the parent company of Valley Irrigation, and Prospera Technologies Inc., an Israeli machine vision and artificial intelligence (AI) company specializing in ag data, have announced a global partnership. It aims to provide growers with autonomous crop management solutions generating greater returns, while requiring fewer production inputs and resources.
“Valley Irrigation is transforming the center pivot from solely an irrigation machine to an autonomous crop management tool,” Valmont President and CEO Stephen G. Kaniewski said. “Water remains our focus, as it is the number one determinant of crop yield. Growers who use pivots have a natural advantage to use them as often as needed, given their constant placement on the field. We can equip the structure to see what a grower may not be able to detect, arming them with critical information that delivers more crop precision, saving time, lowering costs and increasing yield.”
Valley Irrigation leads the industry with more than 60,000 connected devices globally and carries distribution strength through the industry’s largest network of more than 500 dealers worldwide. The intelligence shared between these connected devices and the pivot, along with the integration of data science, machine-learning and AI, enables the two companies to develop real-time crop diagnoses and irrigation recommendations, resulting in greater returns for the grower.
Machine learning tech in agriculture
Prospera, founded in 2014, is a leading force in ag tech, committed to bringing advanced machine learning (ML) technology to the agriculture sector. Backed by strategic investors including Cisco, Qualcomm and Bessemer, Prospera has developed proven analytics, algorithms and data layering to provide growers with irrigation and crop growth recommendations. Prospera currently monitors more than $5 billion of greenhouse production. The partnership between the two companies will build on Prospera’s unique technology, expanding application to large-scale fields.
Autonomous crop management will result in a self-learning machine, using inputs from the field and the grower to deliver proper water, fertigation and chemigation. Launching in the spring of 2019, Anomaly Detection is a fundamental building block for growers entering into AI functionality. Providing visual detection of anomalies or issues, this technology provides essential features to mitigate risks in the field, assisting the grower with their irrigation and crop management practices. It will be available from Valley for all brands of pivots through a subscription-based model.
Kaniewski said launching specific technology products to the market and product adoption are two critical steps on the journey toward autonomous crop management. The joint machine-learning technology is targeted to reach one million acres by 2020. To develop the technology, the two companies collectively plan to invest more than $40 million over the next three years.
“Like Valley, Prospera is committed to giving growers more data-based, actionable insights from the machines that span every inch of their fields, while reducing potential risks that can harm crop production,” said Prospera CEO Daniel Koppel. “We are excited to partner with Valley Irrigation, the industry leader trusted by growers, and their global network of dealers, working together to feed an expanding population.”
Agricultural professionals can find out more about the Valmont/Prospera partnership and resulting technology at World AgriTech in San Francisco, March 19-20, 2019.
Valley Irrigation founded the center pivot irrigation industry in 1954. With historical sales of more than 250,000 center pivots and linears, Valmont-built equipment annually irrigates approximately 25 million acres (10 million hectares) around the world. We remain dedicated to providing innovative, precision irrigation solutions now and into the future. For more information, visit www.valley-prospera.com.