Fertiliser manufacturer Yara International has bought a US start-up business for its digital precision nitrogen platform. The company has bought New York-based Agronomic Technology Corp (ATC) in a move Yara says is in line with its strategy to accelerate investments in digital agriculture and further strengthens its position as the leading crop nutrition provider.

ATC, which also has a presence in California’s Silicon Valley, developed and owns the Adapt-N platform that recommends nitrogen fertiliser rates to enhance both farmer profitability and agricultural sustainability. ATC offers farmers and their advisers tools such as Adapt-N and N-Insight that help to optimise fertilizer use at individual field level.  The tools are said to “combine scientific multi-variable modelling of crops, weather, and field data to enable online diagnostics and simulation of farmers’ choices to maximise yield, input cost efficiency and the sustainability of farming”.

Formed in late 2013, ATC builds on a decade’s work at Cornell University by Prof Harold van Es, chair of the department of crop and soil sciences and his team of researchers and analytical software developers in creating the modelling tool which is at the heart of Adapt-N. A subsequent investment round saw the platform moved to the cloud. The business has already established a position in the US corn market, and is expanding to other crops and geographies. This will be “significantly accelerated” with Yara’s global footprint and knowledge.

“ATC will help Yara implement our farmer-centric strategy and is an important building block in expanding our position in digital farming,” says its executive vice-president crop nutrition Terje Knutsen. “This is another important contribution to our mission to responsibly feed the world and protect the planet.”

Stefan Fürnsinn, senior vice president, digital farming, adds : “Yara is impressed with the accuracy and quality of Adapt-N’s recommendations compared to other products in the market, and is excited about the opportunities that arise from combining the highly complementary digital solutions of the two companies.”

For ATC, chief executive Steve Sibulkin comments:  “Our team is excited about Yara’s digital solutions and the company’s genuine commitment to helping farmers improve their financial and environmental performance.

“Joining our advanced technology and data-driven capabilities with a leading crop nutrition company like Yara provides a tremendous opportunity to scale globally, innovate across a wider product portfolio and crop base, and maintain focus on the success and sustainability of all farmers and those who serve them.”