Browsing: Agriculture

Planting the Seeds of Progress in Agriculture


Is there any real progress happening in farming?”

It’s a question people ask me when they hear about the work I’m involved in here at Hexagon Agriculture. From their vantage point— perhaps driving by a farm and seeing workers in the fields or tractors dragging a plow— they may conclude that little has changed in agriculture.

Their point of view, of course, lacks the whole story of what is happening within the industry. If they could see the big picture, they may be surprised to learn that the most important crop being harvested from today’s farms is data. They might learn that there are more than birds are flying over those fields— there are drones and satellites overhead, feeding critical information about crops, and providing positioning guidance to a vast fleet of tractors, whose movements are being choreographed by advanced analytics.

My unequivocal answer to questions about progress is this: enormous progress is happening. At Hexagon Agriculture, we have the perfect blend of advanced information technologies and passionate, skilled people—a mix that is enabling us to create solutions that address the real problems that farmers, enterprise farmers and agriculture equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are facing all over the world, allowing them to move forward in a sustainable way.

Hexagon Agriculture is creating a new framework for the industry by rationalizing once disparate and siloed processes into efficient connected workflows. It’s not just about using more or less resources; it is about using the resources available in a smarter way.

The shape of progress

Today, from planting to harvest, we are witnessing a farming revolution triggered by the adoption of new technologies that were unthinkable just a decade ago: satellites, high-precision positioning systems, smart sensors, big data and a range of IT applications combined with a deep understanding of the farming business and workflows.

At Hexagon Agriculture, the challenges and constraints that confront the agriculture industry represent a unique opportunity. The entire team is focused on developing a feedback loop that connects and intelligently informs every phase of farming, creating a virtuous cycle of efficiency and productivity that enables farmers to feed a hungry world, and empowers the agriculture industry harvest its full potential.

This is the shape of progress. This is shaping smart change.


Bernardo de Castro
President of Agriculture


Striving For Real-Time Information to Feed the World


Hexagon Agriculture recently traveled to Hanover, Germany, to showcase its industry-leading solutions at AGRITECHNICA, the world’s major exhibition for innovations in agricultural technology and the latest concepts for the future of plant production.  While at the show, I sat down with Hexagon Agriculture President Bernardo de Castro and Vice President of global business development Doug Schmuland. We discussed how the company has set out to be a leading information technology player in the agroindustry with the vision to shape farming into a sustainable and intelligent ecosystem based on processes and actionable intelligence.

New concepts are needed. By the time you read this blog post, the world population will have grown by 217 people, getting closer to the 9 billion by 2040 estimation. This growth combined with increasing prosperity around the world requires doubling the world’s food production by 2050. Meeting such a huge challenge requires a several measures. Farmers strive for more with less on existing farm land, so it is important to know all attributes of the field – soil, water, nutrients and its overall potential. Based on positioning, sensors and software, decisions made by farmers will need support provided by the innovative use of actionable data. This is where Hexagon Agriculture enters the game as a major player.

The agroindustry is witnessing the trend of embedding sensors and hardware into agricultural machinery at the factory. The precision agriculture area of the market is becoming mature. As a result, Hexagon Agriculture is moving its hardware portfolio towards an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) product mix with the goal of becoming the OEM supplier. While Hexagon Agriculture products can stand alone, they are particularly well suited for the OEM space. At AGRITECHNICA, Hexagon Agriculture presented its uniquely designed and functional screens and launched a new auto-steering system. It provides a compact and robust solution for automatic-electric steering, ensuring greater accuracy for trajectories. The system’s excellent performance and small size are examples of delivering what customers in the OEM space are seeking.

Once the market reaches the stage where all manufacturers equip farming machinery with sensors and automation devices in the factories, the next big step is data – extracting, analysing and extrapolating. Farmers will need tools to extract value from the data gathered to help them make the best decisions for the most efficient production. As a consequence, the market will tend more and more to data processing and software. It will be very important to ensure that information from systems in all areas of agriculture is combined, breaking down silos of information. Hexagon Agriculture is uniquely positioned to address this challenge.

On one hand, its own portfolio supports planning, optimisation and geo-referenced data management workflows for precision agriculture, fleet management and crop-specific life cycle solutions. On the other hand, Hexagon Agriculture is backed by the strength of Hexagon’s global presence and complementary technologies from other Hexagon businesses such as Hexagon Geospatial, Leica Geosystems and NovAtel. Hexagon has a leading competency in the area of information technologies. This expertise will be ported into the agriculture space to enable change supported by data, connectivity and relevance. Technology information expertise will allow Hexagon Agriculture to approach the ultimate goal of real-time decision making needed to support significantly enhanced agricultural production.

Narrowing the gap to real time information in agricultural processes to help feed the world – that is shaping smart change.


Isabel Figge
Marketing Manager, Hexagon

Isabel Figge is Marketing Manager at Hexagon, responsible for driving marketing initiatives for the Ventures and Agriculture businesses. Isabel has gained extensive marketing experience in various B2B technology companies. Prior to joining Hexagon she was global marketing program manager at Intergraph PP&M, also one of Hexagon’s businesses.


Change, Tradition and Information Technology in Agriculture 


Agriculture has changed and come a long way from its humble beginnings.

From manual operations on small-scale farms to large-scale, mechanized and enterprise farms, the transformation has been  remarkable.  Since the 1960s, while the cultivated area hasn’t grown much, it has managed to feed and support a population that has more than doubled. This is a result of improved productivity with the boom of mechanization, expansion of infrastructure, use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and development of high-yield varieties of cereals.

However, by 2050, the population is expected to grow to 9.6 billion, an increase of 33%. But agriculture output is required to grow by 100% to meet expected demand.  And this is in the face of many challenges that include the growing scarcity of vital resources such as land and water, and urbanization, a shrinking workforce, climate change and limitations on indiscriminate use of fertilizer and pesticides due to human side effects.  More important,  with bio-fuels, food now has a strong competitor – energy.

So looking ahead, how do we overcome these challenges and catapult productivity? While biotechnology innovation and farming systems improvements are a definite source, we believe that information technology will have a major role to play.  It will propel us to reach the levels of productivity needed for the growing population and can help us overcome some of the challenges that we face.

I am excited to share my vision for Hexagon Agriculture at HxGN LIVE, Hexagon’s annual international conference that brings together Hexagon’s global brands, customers and partners to exchange ideas and explore solutions. I will present during the Synergy track keynote on Tuesday, 2 June at 8:00 a.m. PDT. If you are at the conference, please join us in person or watch us online at HxGN TV.  Also find us in The Zone – HxGN LIVE’s technology expo that has more than 50,000 square feet of forward-thinking technologies and revolutionary stories from Hexagon’s brands.

Challenging tradition to raise productivity in agriculture – that’s shaping smart change


Bernardo De Castro
Hexagon Agriculture

Blogger Profile:

bernardoBernardo de Castro is president of Hexagon Agriculture and has more than 10 years of experience with technology companies. Bernardo has an automation engineering background and is a co-founder and former CEO of Arvus Tecnologia, a Brazil-based leader in precision agriculture software and hardware that was acquired by Hexagon in 2014.


How Does Hexagon Measure Up in an Ever-Changing World?


Every day, we read about the advent of a new technology or advancements of existing technologies. Just 10 years ago, smartphones were almost unheard of, but today, nearly 2 billion people worldwide own one. The resulting app ecosystem has grown manifold and changed livelihoods. Smart technology is everywhere, and every business wants to take advantage of this trend to improve workflows and thereby improve efficiency.

When considering the smart ecosystem, name an emerging technology trend and it’s very likely a Hexagon brand is associated with it. Around the world, Hexagon is seen as a leading global provider of information technologies that drive quality and productivity improvements across geospatial and industrial enterprise applications.

Talk about 3D laser scanning and BIM, and Leica Geosystems is a leader. When it comes to precision measurement, one can’t beat Hexagon Metrology.

Another positive aspect of Hexagon is its large network of companies that develop solutions that complement offerings across the entire Hexagon technologies portfolio. Through a well-developed strategy, this is enabling synergy and ensures that customers are able to produce bigger output than the sum of the original parts.

Cloud/client computing and drones and the internet of things within the consumer space are often termed as the next big things in technology. In engineering, we have SmartPlant Cloud, and in the geospatial industry, Aibotix is becoming one of the most sought after intelligent autonomous vehicles.

Intergraph SG&I has been supporting utilities  and defence for years now. Solutions like Mobile Alert are aiding governments worldwide in smart governance. At the same time, food safety for the world populace can’t be ignored. One of Hexagon’s newest brands, Hexagon Agriculture, addresses this issue.

To support all the above, Hexagon leadership has embraced social media in a big way. The CEO and divisional presidents are active twitter users. This helps them keep their ears to the ground. In addition, Hexagon brands have their own social identities, which helps in understanding customer needs and spreading key messages.

Being at the forefront of innovation to make a positive impact on an ever-changing world – that’s shaping smart change.

Excited about the possibility of bringing change to your place? Join us at HxGN LIVE in Las Vegas to learn more. Take advantage of the Act Fast Rate through April 20 and save!


Chethan Srikrishna
Senior Software Analyst
Hexagon Geospatial

Blogger Profile:

chethan_sChethan has been with Hexagon since 2011. Passionate about geospatial technology and telecommunications, he keeps a close watch on industry trends and admires the way Hexagon synergises different technologies.


Shaping Smart Change in Agriculture


The challenges related to producing food and energy for a rapidly growing world are enormous. Hexagon is poised to meet these challenges head on with agriculture solutions that help increase productivity, reduce waste and optimise processes and resources through its new brand, Hexagon Agriculture.

Headquartered in Florianópolis, Brazil, Hexagon Agriculture is launching this week in Brazil at Show Rural Coopavel, one of the largest and most important shows in South America for the agroindustry.

We have come a long way in a short period of time.

In April 2014, Hexagon acquired my company, Arvus, then acquired iLab Sistemas two months later. Becoming part of the Hexagon global family and contributing to the company’s goals is an exciting step for all of us, and we look forward to benefitting from the resources and opportunities our new network will provide. The success and leadership of Hexagon will help drive our innovation as we develop new technologies that will benefit our target industry.

Arvus is a provider of precision agriculture solutions that allow for closer, more site-specific management of the factors affecting crop production. This means different parts of a field can be managed separately, where the application of essential nutrients and various other inputs can be fine-tuned through the use of sensors and GPS technologies. iLab is a leading provider of planning and optimisation solutions for the agro-business sector, with special focus in the sugar and ethanol industries. iLab takes advantage of extensive know-how and various techniques to deploy highly parameterised solutions that address complex problems related to agricultural processes and production.

Together, Arvus and iLab form the foundation of Hexagon Agriculture, leveraging products and expertise from the agriculture business unit of Leica Geosystems and other businesses within Hexagon.

I am excited about Hexagon Agriculture and its future. Our goal is to be the number-one global technology provider of planning, optimisation, management and automation solutions for the agroindustry.

Empowering an entire industry through advanced and sustainable information technologies to improve agricultural production that’s shaping smart change.


Bernardo de Castro
Hexagon Agriculture

Blogger Profile:

bernardoBernardo de Castro is president of Hexagon Agriculture and has more than 10 years of experience with technology companies. Bernardo has an automation engineering background and is a co-founder and former CEO of Arvus Tecnologia, a Brazil-based leader in precision agriculture software and hardware acquired by Hexagon in 2014.


Smart Agriculture: Hexagon Solutions Help Farmers Do More with Less


By 2050, the global consumption of food will have tripled to accommodate the world population, expected to grow by 50%. At the same time, individual consumption will more than double in some areas due to the increase of income per capita in the emerging markets’ rising middle classes. On the other hand, 900 million people will still suffer from starvation or insufficient food availability.

When it comes to providing food for the world, there are a number of critical factors that affect production. The most pressing of these are the availability of land, the accessibility of water and sustainability in agriculture.

Only 11% of our planet’s land is considered arable, meaning that it is fit for growing crops. In addition, the increasing occurrences of natural disasters such as catastrophic droughts and floods impact the availability of usable land. Further complicating this problem is soil degradation, including erosion and nutrient loss, which causes an estimated 20% decline in food production in the world’s most fertile areas every year. With regard to water, only about 1% of Earth’s water resources are available for human consumption as fresh water; the remaining 99% is saltwater in oceans or frozen at the poles. This 1% of fresh water is divided in terms of its usage, 70% of which is used for irrigation, 20% for industry and less than 10% for general use by the population. Additionally, only a portion of this water is recovered, between 30% and 60%. Another important point to note is that of sustainable growth in food production. It is essential to stimulate sustainable production in agriculture and livestock to preserve the environment and, consequently, forests and biodiversity.

While the challenges related to producing food for the world are enormous, technology will continue to play an increasingly important role in providing the solutions. For years Hexagon and our global network of brands have been developing solutions for the agriculture industry, specifically focused on increasing productivity, reducing waste and optimising processes and resources.

Hexagon is currently working on the development of a solution to not only optimise the utilisation of land and water, but also fertilizers, pesticides, seeds and other farming resources. It is a collaborative effort between Intergraph®, Leica Geosystems and Z/I Imaging, and is focused on increasing automation, effectiveness and efficiency in the agriculture industry to improve yield while saving costs.

Leica Geosystems has long been a leader in the machine control field, automating farm equipment such as tractors via guidance systems for agriculture. By adding Intergraph’s GIS and imagery analysis capabilities, the process can be further refined, allowing farmers in the field to fine-tune management of the crops. Furthermore, through the use of Z/I Imaging’s powerful airborne photogrammetry solutions, farmers can have access to sophisticated maps that illustrate which areas have already been seeded to help prevent over-seeding. This information can be used to develop a history of the crop yield, enabling farmers to decide how each crop or area should be treated individually.

The same methodology can also be applied to water usage, fertilization and fuel consumption, giving the crops just the right amount of what they need, thereby improving both yield and cost savings while eliminating waste. At the same time, high-yield agriculture with optimised processes helps reduce the amount of grasslands and forests that must be cleared for farming. This reduces the amount of biomass burned and the greenhouse gas emissions that result from such clearings, which helps to slow the pace of global warming. Looking ahead, some researchers estimate that the optimisation of processes can reduce the amount of nutrients used by more than 50% while still increasing crop yield, boosting productivity by four times.

These are just a few examples of how Hexagon’s integrated technologies will work together to benefit the industry. In sum, automating the food production process helps increase productivity, reduce waste and optimise processes and resources so that farmers and workers can make smarter agricultural decisions.

Developing high-tech products for high-yield agriculture to help to feed the planet – that’s shaping change.


Claudio Simão
Hexagon South America & Asia/Pacific

Bo Pettersson
Chief Technology Officer