US digital agronomy business the Climate Corporation has bought a software company specialising in irrigation control ahead of its planned rollout in Europe.

The San Francisco-based company, a subsidiary of Monsanto since its acquisition in late 2013, has purchased HydroBio, an agriculture software company with its headquarters in Denver, Colorado. The HydroBio platform combines satellite imagery, soil data and local weather data to provide farmer customers with irrigation information that can help them improve water use efficiency in crop management and monitor crop health to maximise yield and quality. The Monsanto Growth Ventures fund was an early investor in HydroBio, helping it develop and commercialise its platform.

“HydroBio has unique irrigation-focused data analytics capabilities,” says Climate Corporation chief executive Mike Stern. ”As global water use for crop production increases, efficient irrigation is becoming even more important to the future of sustainable agriculture. HydroBio has built a successful business and its tools will complement our Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform offerings in the future.”

Since its launch in 2015, the Climate FieldView platform now has over 100,000 farmer customers in the US and covers more than 100 million acres across the US, Canada and Brazil, claims the company. Through its acquisition of the Estonian farm management software business VitalFields in November last year, Climate Corp now has a presence in the European market, where it intends to introduce the Climate FieldView platform later this year. Monsanto Europe has already launched the AquaTEK commercial irrigation management tool for corn which is powered by HydroBio’s irrigation management platform.

…but Precision Planting sale blocked

Monsanto has terminated Climate Corps’ agreement to sell its Precision Planting equipment business to John Deere following a ruling by the US competition authorities.

The deal, agreed in November 2015, would have combined the world’s two largest developers and providers of IT enabled high speed seed planting equipment. It was called in for competition scrutiny by the US Department of Justice, which has now ruled that the merger would reduce competition in this market, leading to higher prices and less innovation.

Climate Corp says the decision to sell was a strategic one to allow an exclusive focus on its digital agriculture platform, and an alternative buyer will be sought.