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Agco Grain and Protein division shares outlook

Several brands included in this division supporting the grain handling and livestock businesses. Focus turns toward smart farming.

Willie Vogt

March 7, 2022

4 Min Read
POULTRY ROVER: The Scout from Farmatics, a recent Agco acquisition, is a ceiling-mounted automated system that can move through a poultry broiler building measuring conditions, analyzing poultry litter and tracking other factors to improve productivity and animal welfare.Courtesy of Agco Grain and Protein

When many farmers first think of Agco, tractors, planters and combines probably pop into their heads, but for swine, poultry and beef producers Agco also means new tech for their businesses. The Agco Grain and Protein division encompasses several brands focused on grain handling and protein production from GSI to AP to Cumberland, and more, and the division has diversified in the last few years.

During a first-ever market update call, Stefan Caspari, senior vice president and general manager, Agco Grain and Protein, offered a look at the market. "In our group we have two divisions on the grain side and three on the protein side," he explains. "We're developing smart platforms for our farmers and helping them make more informed and better decisions on their farms."

Outside advice

As new tools come to market, Caspari shares that animal welfare is an important part of the focus. He notes the division has put in place processes to help utilize company technology to continue improving animal welfare. One part of that effort is to assemble an advisory panel with experts from around the world to help provide guidance moving forward.

Caspari didn't share who was on the panel, which will have about 10 members with global perspectives, but did share: "The panel, for now, has a species focus on chickens and swine. The panel will have experts from the retail side including Whole foods, to grower-integrators like Tyson, along  with researchers from different universities, and veterinarians. It is a blend of the industry."

That panel will be charged with helping Agco Grain and Protein measure and identify gaps and opportunities for continuous improvement across the product portfolio. The group will also work to identify emerging issues on animal behavior, health, nutrition, welfare, technologies and regulatory compliance that may impact the industry or business. And the panel will watch for shifts in consumer behavior and help set research priorities as the company partners with universities around the world.

The panel, which is new, will be a platform to develop "piece by piece, chapter by chapter a roadmap for needs for animal welfare," he says.

And the partnerships he referenced range from research at Wageningen University in the Netherlands to working with AWS at Amazon to provide a platform for data collection and analysis. "The AWS is a new connection platform across all our different solutions to provide more real-time information so farmers can make informed decisions to better manage the environment for animals," he says.

Putting data to work

Agco acquired Farmatics, a Spanish automation company, that has developed Scout, a ceiling-mounted robot that moves through a poultry broiler house continuously capturing and analyzing data about conditions. From monitoring poultry litter, to monitoring building environmental conditions, Scout provides a higher level of information to the operation.

Caspari explains that this is a starting point, and there is work being done to expand the use of Scout into laying houses, but also for swine operations.

Being ceiling mounted, the unit can be a rover around a building on its track and can capture a lot of information regarding building conditions and animal welfare. The unit can even analyze animal excrement as an early detection system for disease in a building.

The information gathered will be available to farmers by phone, tablet and computer. "Working with AWS we have that connection platform for end customers," he adds.

Looking ahead in 2022

The outlook for 2022 for this Agco division is solid. Caspari says the GSI business rose 20% year-over-year in 2021 and the order book for 2022 is solid. "The challenge is lead time," Caspari notes. "We were short on steel but that is more available on the market. The challenge is that prices, and costs, are still high. We're dealing with labor shortages, so we're not completely out of it."

The company does do a fair share of turnkey installations, and some are delayed. "If you want to make the investment decision to install a system, you should do that as early as possible if you want to get something in 2022. It's a good problem to have, the order book is strong, and demand is high."

With the investment in smart systems combined with innovations for enhancing animal welfare, Agco Grain and Protein is building for the future. You can learn more at Simply click on "our brands" to see the extent of the Agco Grain and Protein division.

About the Author(s)

Willie Vogt

Willie Vogt has been covering agricultural technology for more than 40 years, with most of that time as editorial director for Farm Progress. He is passionate about helping farmers better understand how technology can help them succeed, when appropriately applied.

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