The agriculture industry faces unprecedented challenges driven by the growing global population, shifting diets, and increasing urbanization. To meet the needs of society, agriculture must evolve and innovate like never before. However, external risks, such as climate change, limited natural resources, concerns over chemical inputs, GMO protests, industry consolidation, and reduced choice in the marketplace, make innovation in agriculture even more crucial.

One innovation that has the potential to revolutionize the industry is cloud biology, which combines plant biology, Big Data analytics, and cloud computing. This powerful combination drives new developments throughout the agriculture value chain, from precision farming and breeding to supply chain management and sustainability. By leveraging the vast amounts of data generated by modern agriculture, cloud biology enables farmers, researchers, and industry leaders to make more informed decisions and achieve better outcomes.

What Exactly Is Cloud Biology?

It isn’t a new field. It has existed in the broader life sciences community for several years and is centered around the convergence of cloud computing with biology. Think about the cloud services offered by Amazon Web Services and what that really represents, both from an analytics perspective and a computational scale perspective. Combine that with tools like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and more, and you suddenly are able to take very, very large data sets and extract value from them that humans might not be able to see. Then you can take that information and insights and develop biological solutions or recommendations from them.

This transcends many industries, not just the life sciences, but agriculture is quickly becoming fertile ground for cloud biology.

Cloud Biology in Agriculture

The resulting products from all this, of what the computational engine tells you to do, are in the crop. Sometimes that means higher productivity. Sometimes that means better nutritional profiles. Sometimes that means a different leaf architecture so that you can plant at a higher density in a field and get effectively more outputs for no additional inputs. Whatever it is, it results from cloud biology and analytics informing those decisions.

Cloud biology can help farmers optimize their crop yields and reduce waste by providing real-time data on weather, soil moisture, and other environmental factors. It can also enable plant breeders to develop more resilient and productive crop varieties by analyzing genetic data on a massive scale. Additionally, cloud biology can improve supply chain efficiency and sustainability by providing greater transparency and traceability throughout the production process.

According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the global market for agricultural biotechnology is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.5% from 2021 to 2026, reaching a value of $58.4 billion. This growth is being driven in part by innovations in cloud biology, which are helping to address the many challenges facing the agriculture industry today.

On this podcast, we feature Matt Crisp, founder, and CEO of Benson Hill Biosystems. This iSelect portfolio company is pioneering cloud biology for agriculture, leveraging technology to solve some of the world’s greatest agricultural challenges.

Click above to listen to the full episode.