Ahead of the virtual World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit, speaker Brad Arnold, SVP, Global Crop Cycle and Fuse Connected Services at AGCO Corporation discusses sustainability and bringing intelligence to the farm.

Virtual World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit - Brad Arnold - Agco Corporation
Brad Arnold, SVP, Global Crop Cycle & Fuse Connected Services, AGCO Corporation

AGCO is the only ag equipment company solely dedicated to agriculture, with a diverse portfolio supporting grain to protein production. What are the key concerns facing farmers as a result of the pandemic and climate change and how are you aligning your technology advancements/investments with customer concerns and consumer expectations?
Sustainability is a key focus for today’s farmers, whether that’s sustainability of their operations, their farming practices, or their environmental impact. AGCO recast its vision in May to “Sustainable high-tech solutions for farmers feeding the world” to reflect our deep commitment to helping farmers sustain their operations, their communities, and our shared environment. We are delivering smart agriculture technologies to help farmers increase yield with lower inputs, which increases their profitability and productivity while minimizing their environmental impact.

Prior to joining AGCO you were the General Manager at the Agtech start-up Precision Planting. What are the biggest challenges of integrating new technologies into a traditional company and maintaining an entrepreneurial mindset?
While it’s always challenging to integrate solutions originally developed outside an organization, we’ve struck a great balance. Precision Planting continues to develop new, innovative solutions for the retro-fit market while ensuring those solutions are able to be integrated into AGCO’s whole good platforms.  Precision Planting has also maintained a great deal of independence – that team remains focused on identifying and solving difficult farming problems that create significant value for our customers.  We’re excited about both the portfolio growth and geographic expansion that have happened since joining AGCO; the AGCO team is helping Precision Planting grow well beyond what we thought was possible.

At the summit, you are speaking about ‘Turning Iron into a Digital Company’ – what still needs to be done to bring intelligence to the farm in real time? How is AGCO going to change in the next 10 years?
To bring intelligence to the farm in real time, we still need all the signals from the farm to be converted from analog to digital and get them connected.  As an industry, we have platforms and data lakes ready to receive those digital signals and help farmers interpret them to determine which actions will drive yields up and costs down. Of course, many of those analog signals are the farmers’ observations. Capturing those signals digitally is our biggest challenge and opportunity over the next 10 years!

What is AGCO’s approach to innovation and investment and how does the company balance external acquisition with internal R&D. How are you partnering within the industry?
We continue to invest in internal R&D in areas that leverage our core strengths, while seeking partners and acquisition opportunities that better enable us to “run fast” in areas essential to our future growth. We have a robust innovation pipeline that’s delivered several major crop cycle advancements to farmers over the last 5 years, including the Ideal combine and Momentum planter, and we’re open to partnerships, acquisitions and fast-moving internal R&D investments that help us identify and solve customer-limiting problems.

What are the key concerns facing farmers as a result of the pandemic and climate change and how are you aligning your technology advancements/investments with customer concerns and consumer expectations?
Sustainability is a key focus for today’s farmers, whether that’s sustainability of their operations, their farming practices, or their environmental impact. AGCO recast its vision in May to “Sustainable high-tech solutions for farmers feeding the world” to reflect our deep commitment to helping farmers sustain their operations, their communities, and our shared environment. We are delivering smart agriculture technologies to help farmers increase yield with lower inputs, which increases their profitability and productivity while minimizing their environmental impact.

Don’t miss Brad’s presentation ‘Turning Iron into a Digital Company’ on Day 1, Tuesday September 15, within Track 2 Automation and Digitisation at 3.50pm (UK time).