Optimizing the Digital Farm

The right combination of technology and expertise improves the accuracy of on-farm management decisions.
Optimizing the Digital Farm
Q. What is digital farming?
Aaron Deardorff
A. Aaron Deardorff, digital farm manager, Syngenta: Digital farming is a combination of digital technology assets - data collection, data storage and management, analytics, and decision modeling - that work together to unlock farming's potential. Of course, the retail channel is no stranger to digital farming. Some of our key retail customers have advanced their original investment in precision agriculture to include analytics, decision modeling and sales-aid tools. A recent study by Purdue University reveals that these types of investments will continue, with a heavy focus on variable-rate seeding recommendations and further automation.

Q. Why is Syngenta participating in digital farming?
At Syngenta, we believe digital farming empowers solutions designed to simplify the complexities of 21st century farming. We want to help growers make better decisions that will lead to optimal operations and productivity improvements. By building on our current offerings and integrating technologies, we will bring a solution to the industry that will help realize a farm's potential by placing data insight, information and intelligence at a grower's fingertips.

To achieve this goal, we are focused on creating an integrated digital environment that provides value to our industry partners through essential information, tools and processes. We feel this is best accomplished through a collaborative approach, utilizing the channel's and digital companies' core competencies along with our vast agronomic knowledge to turn data into insights and actionable decisions.

Q. What is Syngenta offering in the digital farming space?
Digital farming is not new to Syngenta. Since 2001, we've collaborated with our strategic partner Ag Connections to provide the farm data-management software that powers our AgriEdge Excelsior® program. This whole-farm program offers industry-leading farm management software, risk management, a broad service model and access to our vast portfolio. It's also the foundation for our targeted sustainable sourcing initiatives.

In recent years, we've developed Water+ Intelligent Irrigation Platform. It's a comprehensive irrigated corn production system that integrates our agronomic portfolio and expertise with irrigation technologies from our partner Lindsay Corporation.

Digital farming is also an integral part of our Enogen® trait technology, the first genetically modified output trait in corn engineered specifically to enhance the productivity and efficiency of dry-grind ethanol production. Enogen360 grain contracting system helps growers manage their contracts and stewardship obligations quickly and efficiently. This encrypted system is secure, straightforward and easy-to-use and allows Enogen growers to coordinate and track the status of their Enogen contracts with their local ethanol plants, Enogen dealers and Syngenta.

Finally, FarmAssist® is a Syngenta Web service that provides weather information, including growing-degree-day calculations; commodity updates; market commentary; product information, such as labels, pest targets and material safety data sheets; crop information; and agricultural news. Future developments will encompass deeper analytics, decision modeling and a user interface that digitizes the agronomic sales process.

Q. What are the benefits of digital farming to growers and industry partners?


"Our ultimate goal is to help growers receive more value on the acre and a greater return on investment."

Aaron Deardorff
For the grower specifically, there's timely critical knowledge, reduced complexity, improved environmental stewardship and actionable decision-making to enhance overall farm productivity. For retailers, benefits include agronomic empowerment, field marketing and connectivity, all of which enhance their service and sales models. Other advantages of the Syngenta digital farming offer include:

  • Collaboration: Partners, such as Lindsay and Ag Connections, bring core competencies that empower Syngenta solutions and our channel partners' efforts in this space.
  • Whole-farm management: The technology and analytics provided through the AgriEdge Excelsior program allow growers to manage their entire farming operations, calculate return on investment and analyze nearly every aspect of their business to maximize profitability.
  • Sustainable sourcing: Growers are using AgriEdge Excelsior as a foundation for data collection. Analyses of the data through metrics from Field to Market®: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture provide growers with sustainability indicators on a field-by-field basis. This information allows growers to make actionable decisions that meet the sustainable sourcing needs of the people who purchase their crops and that safeguard their businesses for future generations.

Q. Should users be concerned about data privacy issues?

Users should be knowledgeable about who has access to their data, where their data is going from both a storage and security standpoint, and how it is being utilized. Syngenta makes sure these questions are at the forefront of our conversations by incorporating a contractual agreement around grower data usage, security and confidentiality. We also have a public Syngenta pledge that outlines the culture we set with data privacy.

Q. What future advancements from Syngenta can users look forward to experiencing?

Our ultimate goal is to help growers receive more value on the acre and a greater return on investment. To this end, we are continually searching for partners who empower our digital farming efforts and ultimately provide value to our customers. Internally, we are working to further enable and enhance our agronomic advice through data capture as well as analytics and modeling technologies by collaborating with select vendors and linking these core competencies to our industry partners' digital farming systems. We also will continue to play an active role in AgGateway, a nonprofit consortium made up of agricultural retailers, basic manufacturers and precision-ag companies.

These are exciting times in agriculture as our industry continues to embrace technological advancements. Our Syngenta digital farming vision is focused on turning data and information into actionable decisions for our retailer and grower customers, all the while ensuring their confidentiality.