Australian farmers will benefit from a new partnership between two global companies, Bayer and Microsoft.
The companies have joined forces to build a cloud-based set of digital tools and data science solutions for use in agriculture and adjacent industries.
In turn it is hoped this will accelerate innovation, boost efficiency and support sustainability across value chains.
Digital tools are becoming commonplace, including platforms like Bayer's Climate FieldView, which is used on more than 72 million farming hectares across more than 20 countries.
Under the agreement, Bayer will work with Microsoft to co-develop new solutions that address critical industry scenarios such as farming operations, sustainable sourcing, manufacturing and supply chain improvement, and ESG monitoring and measurement.
The companies will do this by developing the go-forward infrastructure for digital farming solutions and data science capabilities.
These new solutions and capabilities will be available to businesses - from start-ups to global enterprises - for use in their own offerings.
Bayer will also migrate its digital farming core capabilities to the new infrastructure for its own customer-facing solutions.
Bayer Crop Science president and Bayer board member Liam Condon said the partnership comes at a unique point in time where increased innovation is sorely needed across the food and fibre value chain.
"As we cope with an ongoing global pandemic, fragile supply chains and the continuing climate catastrophe, status quo will not suffice. We need collaboration, shared vision and action," Mr Condon said.
"For those reasons, Bayer and Microsoft are taking action to make a positive impact, both through our own collaboration as well as by offering off-the-shelf infrastructure and digital capabilities for other companies to address the enormous challenges facing our society."
Microsoft's Azure Global Industry corporate vice president Ravi Krishnaswamy said like every industry, farming and the food sector were undergoing rapid digital transformation.
"We're excited to partner with Bayer to accelerate this transformation by helping them increase the adoption of precision and sustainable agriculture techniques using data-driven insights and the power of Microsoft Azure," Mr Krishnaswamy said.
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