IMC Newsdesk

Yara, IBM launch field data Open Collaboration

  • April 8, 2020
  • William Payne
The Yara/IBM collaboration is centered around a joint vision to make a real difference in food production

IBM and Norwegian crop nutrition and digital farming specialist Yara International have issued a call to farmer associations, industry players, universities and NGOs to join them in building an open data exchange for farm and field data.

The Open Farm & Field Data Exchange aims to bring data together from various players to address concrete issues and enable innovation. The companies argue that sharing data allows farmers to receive higher value services and to be paid in return for sharing their data. Use of the open data exchange platform can also make it trustful for farmers and value chain players to meet potential regulatory requirements.

Yara and IBM are inviting players in the agriculture and food industry to help pilot test cases and define the principles and practicalities of data collaboration. Participants will contribute to the development of a food ecosystem that is designed to enable data-driven innovation, addresses changing consumer preferences and reduces the environmental footprint of food production.

The initiative aims to build on the learnings and technology foundation established in the context of the Yara-IBM partnership, which was launched in 2019. The initial focus of the joint work lies on farm and field data management as well as data-driven, joint innovation for farmers, which has launched in various markets across the world.

The two firms are building a digital platform that aims to provide “holistic digital services and instantaneous agronomic advice”.

The digital platform will have worldwide coverage and aspires to reach 100 million hectares of farmland – which is equivalent to twice the size of Spain or close to 7 percent of all arable land worldwide* including millions of smallholder farms.  

Yara and IBM has established joint innovation teams, collaborating at digital hubs in Europe, Singapore, the US and Brazil. The teams are working with IBM researchers on developing capabilities such as visual analytics and machine learning techniques for crop insights. 

“It is our collective responsibility to overcome siloes and work together to bring innovation to the way we produce food. The transition towards a more sustainable food system requires data-driven customized solutions for every field and farm. Trusted data sharing is one key element where we can jointly make a difference which will benefit all, from farmers all the way to end consumers,” says Terje Knutsen, Yara EVP Sales and Marketing.

“When IBM and Yara developed the first digital farming collaboration, we centred around a joint vision to make a real difference in increasing global farming yields in a sustainable way,” said Mark Foster, senior vice president, IBM Services and Global Business Services. “We believe the agriculture industry needs to invest in exponential technologies such as AI, IoT, and big data to help address climate change and population growth as it threatens the world’s ability to produce enough food. Together with Yara, we are taking a major step towards transforming the global food system by inviting all food value chain players to join this collaborative movement to help feed the world more efficiently and sustainably.”

Norwegian company Yara focuses on the development of digital farming tools for precision farming. It has the aim of developing whole food value chain-wide climate-friendly crop nutrition solutions, and greater sustainability. The company was founded in 1905 to address an emerging famine in Europe. The company has a worldwide presence with about 17,000 employees and operations in over 60 countries. In 2018, Yara reported revenues of USD 12.9 billion.