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 15 feb 2016 12:08 

Bayer bolsters digital farming through acquisition of software provider proPlant

Bayer has acquired the plant health diagnosis and infection level warning service provider proPlant Gesellschaft für Agrar- und Umweltinformatik mbH. The acquisition continues the expansion of Bayer’s activities in the field of agricultural digitalization. The company based in Münster in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany, was originally established as a spin-off by employees of the Institute for Geoinformatics at Münster University. It will operate as Bayer Digital Farming GmbH in the future.

"The acquisition of proPlant will extend our technology platform, on the basis of which we are developing new digital solutions for sustainable, resource-efficient agricultural production," said Liam Condon, member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and head of the Crop Science Division. "Digitalization can give farmers timely, field-specific information, from selecting the right crop varieties and finding the right fertilizer dose as accurately as possible through to determining the ideal time for crop protection measures and recognizing plant stress factors at an early stage," he explained.

Bayer Digital Farming GmbH develops and markets IT solutions for the European agricultural sector. In particular, the company markets optimization solutions for plant protection applications for almost all major arable crops. The Managing Director of Bayer Digital Farming GmbH is Andree-Georg Girg, most recently global Crop Manager Oilseeds at Bayer. Financial details were not disclosed.

To continue some existing activities of proPlant that are not relevant for Bayer, a new company has been established by its partners operating under the name proPlant Agrar- und Umweltinformatik GmbH. Thomas Volk has been appointed Managing Director of this company.

Digital Farming at Bayer

Bayer provides farmers all over the world with practical decision-making aids based on the precise evaluation and combination of diverse data such as weather data or topographic maps. Using these individualized recommendations, farmers can optimize their business management and lower costs, leading not only to higher yields and therefore an improved income but also more efficient and environmentally compatible deployment of resources. Bayer plans to strengthen its activities in the future market of digital farming through further strategic investments, and is committed to long-term research and development collaborations with leading technology providers.

Satellite images for optimized management of specific sub-plots

Arable land can vary considerably even within one and the same parcel of land, depending on the topography, type of soil and soil-related supply of water and nutrients to the plants, all of which have repercussions for their biomass.

Last year, in view of this situation, Bayer acquired the Zoner geoinformation system from IntelMax, Calgary, Canada ( to be able to give farmers specific recommendations for action for individual sub-plots. The transaction means that, in addition to agricultural IT specialists, Bayer now also has innovative software that can be used for the evaluation and graphic representation of the satellite images of selected agricultural areas in Canada, the United States, Brazil, France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia taken over a 30-year period.

Bayer translates these basic data into practice-relevant and usable decision-making tools which farmers can employ for soil management and to plan and efficiently organize their use of seed varieties and crop protection products. The individualized recommendations can be transmitted directly to the farmer’s agricultural machinery. As such, geoinformation systems play an important role in sustainable agriculture. Bayer plans to offer its customers further digital services in future in order to drive forward the digitalization of farming and sustainable agriculture.

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