A Canadian multinational has created a new agritech division through the acquisition of several agricultural technology and software businesses, including Muddy Boots in the UK.

Telus, the $15.3 billion communications and IT group based in Vancouver, has formed the Telus Agriculture division with the aim of harnessing data systems and artificial intelligence to streamline operations and improve traceability along the agrifood chain.

Telus Agriculture claims to have 1,200 experts covering more than 100 million acres of agricultural land across Canada, the US, Mexico, Brazil, the UK, Germany, Slovakia, Armenia, China, and Australia.

The division consolidates the recent acquisitions of a number of North American agri-tech businesses which collectively connect businesses along the agri-food value chain – from seed processors and farmers through to grocery stores and restaurants. These include US platform developers AGIntegrated and TKXS; AFS Technologies which specialises in supply chain management, sales and distribution software; California-based Agrian, a unified management platform for precision farming, agronomy, sustainability, analytics, and compliance; two Canadian businesses, Decisive Farming providing precision agronomy and farm management support and Farm At Hand, supplying farm management software. Telus has also agreed to acquire Canada’s Feedlot Health Management Solutions, for data-based livestock management.

Telus bought Ross-on-Wye-based Muddy Boots for its farm-to-food traceability and supply chain management software in April this year. It has also agreed a partnership agreement with the UK’s Hummingbird Technologies which focuses on advanced imagery analytics delivered by drones.

“Hummingbird and Muddy Boots join a number of North America’s most innovative agritech businesses that together connect across the food production and consumption lifecycle,” says Telus. “This new business unit provides two of the UK’s most exciting agritech businesses access to a global platform upon which to grow their businesses.”

“By means of our technology innovation, artificial intelligence and human compassion, we will help farmers and ranchers produce food for the world’s ever-expanding population more efficiently, safely and in a more environmentally friendly manner,” says Telus president and chief executive Darren Entwistle.

“Our efforts to optimise food production will contribute to a better yield of food supply to meet the ever-growing requirements of our hungry planet. By digitizing the entire value chain and linking these technologies together for the first time, we will facilitate a secure exchange of information to allow farmers and ranchers, agri-business organizations, the agri-food industry and the consumer to make smarter decisions.”