Feb 27 DuPont Pioneer, the agricultural seed
unit of DuPont, said on Thursday it was launching a suite
of "whole-farm decision" services aimed at boosting crop
productivity, a line of business many in the agricultural sector
are racing to offer.
The platform of data and technology services, to be called
"Encirca," will have a dedicated website and a team of about 50
Encirca sales and service agents through key corn- and
soybean-growing areas of the U.S. Midwest, DuPont said.
The move, which comes just ahead of the key U.S. spring
planting season for corn, soybeans and other crops, follows
several deals the company has signed with various information
and technology partners.
DuPont Pioneer Director of Decision Services Joe Foresman
said he expects the series of offerings planned under the
Encirca umbrella to have a "pretty material impact" on company
"There is definitely pent-up demand," said Foresman.
"EncircaSM View" will provide farmers with a free
information site on crop observations as well as a fee-based
program that includes market news and analysis, grain trading
capabilities and location specific weather forecasts. It
launches in March.
Farmers can track crop performance and conditions across a
range of three to 50 counties in their area through a mobile
application as part of the offering.
DuPont said it is pricing its fee-based program at $150 a
month after an initial set-up fee of $450.
Farmers already face rising input costs and a squeeze on
profit margins, and Foresman said enhancing the level of
information farmers have to make decisions about crops will help
In July, DuPont Pioneer plans to release "EnciraSM Yield,"
another fee-based offering that will help growers assess
specific decisions on seeding, chemical applications and water
usage. The company has not yet set the pricing for that,
Last week DuPont, the largest U.S. chemical maker by market
value, announced a three-year agreement with the University of
Missouri and the U.S. Department of Agricultural Research
Service for collection of soil, topography and watershed data.
Earlier this month DuPont announced a deal with DTN/The
Progressive Farmer to provide weather and market information to
farmers, along with new grain trading capabilities, all accessed
through mobile devices. In November, DuPont inked a deal with
farm machinery company Deere & Co to provide farmers a
wireless transfer system for their data.
DuPont and rival Monsanto Co are racing to capture
market share in the burgeoning "precision agriculture" arena,
turning farm-related data into new profit streams by
incorporating analytics on an array of data points, including
soil types, fungicide application timing, weather patterns and
Officials from both DuPont and Monsanto have said the future
of farming and increased food production will be closely tied to
sophisticated analyses of data to inform farmers on how to boost
production as well as profits.