BASF recently announced the acquisition of Pennsylvania-based ZedX, a world leader in developing digital ag intelligence. ZedX, a research and development company headquartered north of State College in Bellefonte, is no stranger to agriculture. Many farmers are already using agronomic models and products it developed.
ZedX was one of the first to develop high-resolution weather databases compatible with Geographic Information System programs. One of the first ventures was HighQ, merging GIS-based soil productivity and corn hybrid selection. Then came SkyBit, a pest and weather predictive system; Ag Scouter; WXDrift; and Irrigation Scheduler programs.
The company also developed nationwide predictive models for gypsy moth, monarch butterflies, European corn borers and soybean rust, and in-field wireless sensing systems to help apple growers. One of its latest projects was developing an interactive “Field to Market” website for sustainable agriculture. Another is Intellicrop, a global crop-monitoring and yield-forecasting system.
Growing BASF’s digital footprint
After three years of collaborative work, BASF knew the value of rapidly translating such data models for more efficient production. “Growers are embracing cutting-edge technology and tools that can help them increase crop yields,” noted Scott Kay, crop production vice president for BASF North America. ZedX’s innovative platforms and strong intelligence capabilities will enhance BASF’s current digital services with critical farm data, he says.
Joe Russo, ZedX’s founder and president, pointed out that the partnership with BASF has already produced great results. “We developed a model that gave the right window of application for a BASF herbicide, based on important weather and environmental conditions.” Weather conditions, soil temperature, wind speed — all of these factors can influence the performance of crop protection products.
Less than a year ago, Russo received the American Phytopathological Society’s Excellence in Industry Award for developing IT pest problem-solving platforms for land-grant universities and USDA.
The ZedX acquisition complements BASF’s digital farming portfolio, which includes Maglis and Compass Grower Advanced. Maglis is an online platform that connects technology, data and people in a smarter way. It offers a range of integrated and intuitive tools that guide farmers from planning and planting to harvest.
The acquisition is expected to be completed within a few weeks. ZedX products and solutions will soon be available to all key markets.