IBM is expanding its Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture to Africa and other markets around the world. The Platform taps AI, cloud technology, weather and IoT data so growers, food companies and agribusiness can boost production.

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The global expansion of Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture is the latest innovation in IBM’s efforts to make weather a more predictable business consideration.

The platform will include new crop models for corn, wheat, soy, cotton, sorghum, barley, sugar cane, palm, olive, and potato. The new models will be tailored for specific geographical regions Africa,  Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Europe and Australia.

For the first time, IBM says it is providing a global agriculture solution that combines predictive technology with data from The Weather Company, an IBM Business, and IoT data to help give farmers around the world greater insights about planning, ploughing, planting, spraying and harvesting.

“These days farmers don’t just farm food, they also cultivate data – from drones flying over fields to smart irrigation systems, and IoT sensors affixed to combines, seeders, sprayers and other equipment,” said Kristen Lauria, general manager of Watson Media and Weather Solutions, IBM. “Most of the time, this data is left on the vine — never analyzed or used to derive insights. Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture aims to change that by offering tools and solutions to help growers make more informed decisions about their crops.”

The Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture assesses data in an electronic field record to identify and communicate crop management patterns and insights. Enterprise businesses such as food companies, grain processors, or produce distributors can then work with farmers to leverage those insights. It helps track crop yield as well as the environmental, weather and plant biologic conditions that go into a good or bad yield, such as irrigation management, pest and disease risk analysis and cohort analysis for comparing similar subsets of fields.

The platform is built on IBM PAIRS Geoscope from IBM Research, which quickly processes massive, complex geospatial and time-based datasets collected by satellites, drones, aerial flights, millions of IoT sensors and weather models. It crunches large, complex data and creates insights quickly and easily so farmers and food companies can focus on growing crops for global communities.

IBM acquired The Weather Company in 2016 and has since been helping clients better understand and mitigate the cost of weather on their businesses. The two help the agriculture industry find value in weather insights. IBM Research collaborates with startup Hello Tractor to integrate The Weather Company data, remote sensing data (e.g., satellite), and IoT data from tractors. IBM also works with crop nutrition leader Yara to include hyperlocal weather forecasts in its digital platform for real-time recommendations, tailored to specific fields or crops.

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