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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Syngenta Invests in Premier Crop Science

Syngenta Ventures, the venture capital arm of Syngenta, has made a minority investment in Iowa-based Premier Crop Systems (PCS) - a producer of digital tools that help better inform agronomists and farmers to utilize their data to its highest potential.

Now in its nineteenth year, PCS labels itself “an agronomy company that looks like a software company,” that offers a comprehensive approach to issues regarding crop production, fertility, seeding, and management systems through a multi-layer data and analysis platform.

Where PCS analysis differs from other data management companies, is its structure - PCS offers three different levels:

Field Reports - where the majority of actionable data is analyzed at each individual field resulting in management decisions.

Grower Reports - allows managers and farmers to view results of parts of fields that are gathered and summarized across the entire farming operation.

Group Data - offers analysis on a regional basis through an anonymous and confidential sharing of data among the Premier Crop Systems database.

PCS’ newest offering is “Enhanced Learning Blocks” - a system that allows growers to conduct trials on small tracts of land, giving farmers the addition of randomization and replication within crop treatments, and one which Syngenta was involved in field trials earlier this year.

“Premier Crop Systems’ Learning Blocks provide a novel and simple way to validate treatments in grower fields,” says Chuck Foresman, digital agriculture R&D lead for Syngenta. “The addition of randomization and replication within those treatments is exciting to an R&D-driven company like Syngenta because it opens the possibility of scaling scientific field research.”

This investment by Syngenta will help PCS not only support the launch of Enhanced Learning Blocks, but to also expand its team of agronomists, data scientists, and customer service representatives to better serve both existing and new customers.

“With additional capital from Syngenta Ventures, we will be better able to develop and deliver new tools to growers, their advisors and the research community,” says Dan Frieberg, Premier Crop Systems CEO.

Digital Daze

It has been a very active week for investment within the agtech sphere.

Within days of Syngenta’s announced investment in PCS, Tel Aviv-based digital farming startup Prospera announced it had successfully raised a $15 million Series B led by Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of Qualcomm Incorporated, and including Cisco Investments, ICV, and existing investor Bessemer Venture Partners.

Also, global agricultural equipment company AGCO announced it has agreed to acquire Precision Planting LLC from Monsanto subsidiary The Climate Corporation for an undisclosed amount.

When at one time, agriculture saw a revolution brought by the development and advancement of new equipment, it is becoming increasingly evident that the industry is moving into a new digital age. Another revolution is on the horizon, but this one will be driven more by the ability to unlock and utilize information - and for this to happen, big data and equipment will inevitably need to become highly interdependent.

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