Deere decides to purchase Blue River Technology, aims for portfolio expansion in precision farming

Deere and Company, the renowned agricultural equipment behemoth, has declared its decision to take over Blue River Technology, a beginner player in the agro-technology business, for a projected valuation of around USD 305 million. Having already experienced the accomplishment of being counted amongst the industry leaders that specialize in the application of machine learning to agriculture, Blue River Technology boasts of an abundance of advanced technology, which Deere is confident, will be used on a wide range of products in the future.

For the uninitiated, Blue River Technology, established in 2011 in Sunnyvale, is a popular startup in precision farming industry and is reputed to have combined machine learning technology and computer vision to invent and conceive technologically advanced products. If reports are to be believed, Blue River technology has raised approximately USD 30.35 million in funding from companies including Pontifax AgTech, Khosla Ventures, Data Collective, Innovation Endeavors, and Monsanto Growth Ventures, Monsanto’s venture capital arm.

One of the principal rationales that has prompted Deere’s decision to acquire Blue River is the latter’s high-grade, innovative, technologically-advanced product spectrum. For instance, Blue River’s See & Spray equipment is a unique technology that enables the reduction of herbicide usage by spraying only on the areas infested by weeds. The technology has been so designed that it analyzes every plant and refers to an already implanted image library to determine if it is actually a plant or a weed. If the former is true, the equipment does not fidget with the plant any further. In case of the latter, See & Spray sprays the herbicide directly onto the weed, without harming the surrounding soil. Blue River is also renowned for other machines such as LettuceBot, that has been designed to extract lettuce plants on a timely basis so that other plants may have sufficient space to grow.

Deere’s acquisition of Blue River Technology comes on the heels of its former refusal to purchase Monsanto’s precision planting subsidiary. Five months heretofore, the precision farming market giant made it to the headlines when it chickened out of its proposed acquisition of Monsanto’s precision plant arm. Seeing that precision farming is a vital fragment of its application portfolio, the company had declared its decision of purchasing Precision Planting LLC from Monsanto in November 2015. However, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the company, claiming that partnership would have been valued for around USD 190 million, while Precision Planting and Deere would have jointly accounted for more than 85% of the precision planting business. On the grounds of anti-trust concerns, Deere dropped the deal in the beginning of 2017 and has now planned to acquire Blue River. Interestingly, one of Monsanto’s Growth Ventures participated in the USD 17 million Series B funding round of Blue River.

Deere’s officials seem to be fairly eager to conclude the deal, given Blue River’s technology expertise. As per sources, the acquisition will be completed by next month, and Blue River’s 60-employee workforce is likely to remain in Sunnyvale instead of Deere’s headquarters in Illinois.

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Saipriya Iyer

Saipriya Iyer develops content for Market Size Forecasters. A computer engineer by profession, she ventured into the field of writing for the love of playing with words. Having had a previous experience of 3 years under her belt, she has dabbled with website content writing, content auditing, tech w...

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