AGCO is taking a retrofit first approach to autonomy and its tech stack. The OEM is designing technology that will fit farmers’ operations, which often include a mixed fleet and the need to improve efficiency without buying a brand new machine.
Autonomous software development companies Apex.AI and JCA Industries are foundational components of AGCO’s tech stack. AGCO acquired JCA in May and announced an expanded partnership with Apex.AI earlier in June.
As you can see, JCA enables all levels of AGCO’s tech stack. Precision Planting; software, hardware and electronics manufacturer Appareo; and precision harvesting company Headsight complement the connectivity and advanced sensing of AGCO’s machines.
Faromatics, a precision livestock farming company, adds to AGCO’s autonomous, automation, artificial intelligence, data management and logistics capabilities. The acquisition of 151 Research, a research and product development firm focused on grain, enables farm connectivity, and a minority investment in smart spraying company Greeneye Technology allows AGCO to enhance its AI and machine learning capabilities.
Not pictured on the above graphic is AGCO’s recently announced investment in OPTIfarm, a precision livestock software company.
Seth Crawford, AGCO’s senior vice president and general manager of precision ag and digital, says internal strategic discussions identified that AGCO had the foundation to advance its artificial intelligence and autonomy capabilities on its own, but it would take too long to go it alone.
“We feel, from a retrofit-first approach, that we have a great brand with Precision Planting, and it's very well accepted and recognized by farmers as a technology that can be retrofitted onto anybody’s machine. We didn't feel that we needed to go get brands. We felt that we needed to go get the capabilities. So that's what we've done. Not many people have heard of JCA or Appareo or Headsight, but if you look at the products that are out there across the farms, quite often they have some place in a lot of the farms, and we see that as a real opportunity for us to continuing to build on our capabilities organically, continuing to grow the businesses we’ve acquired and continue to keep an eye out for investments.”
Crawford says thinking retrofit-first is a huge differentiator between AGCO and its competitors, and it’s the best business opportunity for AGCO as it puts the farmer first. Retrofit falls into a different channel than its competitors’ autonomous options — and it’s a channel that AGCO is already familiar with in its global markets, particularly in Western Europe.
Crawford spoke in depth about AGCO’s retrofit-first strategy in the latest episode of the Precision Farming Dealer podcast. Listen to the episode here.