China goes Internet of Things for the farm by buying Israel’s AutoAgronom

China’s economy is growing exponentially. So is the needs of its population. To keep ahead of the food curve, China’s Yuanda Group just bought the Israeli company AutoAgronom for $20 million. 

The company makes irrigation and fertilization systems to save money, energy and nutrients. Each one costs an estimated $25,000. Now it’s fulfilling a triple bottom line.

AutoAgronom applies sensors and a tensiometer to listen the plants’ needs at the roots. From there the tool can decide how to fertigate the fields. It can save 50% water, 70% fertilizer (delivering only where it’s needed) and increase yield. The savings on the planet are also apparent: less fertilizer means less pollutants leaching into our lakes and water systems.

The company is not young and just jumping on the Internet of Things or smart farming band wagon. No, it was founded in 1988 and has its systems installed in 13 countries already worldwide.

Using smart irrigation, AutoAgronom can reduce water consumption per acre from 500 tons to 150 tons.

Yuanda will take over marketing the technology: “Our cooperation is like a marriage. We offer technology and Yuanda focuses on marketing,” says Nissim Daniely, general manager of AA told China Daily.

“The movement to new technology is huge. Every year, the area of drip irrigation system farming in China increases about 20 percent, which is more than all in Israel and Europe together. It is a huge market in China,” he added.

Could China be in a race with Japan to create smart farming solutions? Panasonic, Sharp and Fujitsu are already pioneering Internet of Things solutions for cities. As well as artificial intelligence for plants companies, such as flux.

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