John Deere acquisition marks move into precision farming

US agricultural machinery manufacturer John Deere has bought agri-tech start-up Blue River Technology for $305 million (£230m).

Image: Blue River Technology
Image: Blue River Technology

Deere & Company chief information officer John May said: "We welcome the opportunity to work with a Blue River Technology team that is highly skilled and intensely dedicated to rapidly advancing the implementation of machine learning in agriculture - an important capability for Deere's future."

Blue River has already applied machine learning to agricultural spraying equipment and Deere is confident that similar technology can be used in the future on a wider range of products, May said.

Blue River Technology co-founder and chief executive Jorge Heraud said: "We are using computer vision, robotics, and machine learning to help smart machines detect, identify, and make management decisions about every single plant in the field."

Deere says it plans to retain the 60-person firm in California, "with an objective to continue its rapid growth and innovation with the same entrepreneurial spirit that has led to its success".

May likened the investment to Deere's acquisition of NavCom Technology in 1999 that established Deere in the use of GPS technology for agriculture.

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