Agco to buy GrainViz system’s Winnipeg developer

System due out in limited release this fall

U.S. farm machinery firm Agco has set up a deal to buy its Winnipeg partner in the development of the GSI GrainViz grain monitoring system.

Georgia-based Agco announced Friday it now has an agreement to acquire 151 Research, with which it had signed an “exclusive technology partnership” back in December 2018 to develop the GrainViz system.

Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed in Friday’s release, in which Agco said the deal will allow it to “continue development of GrainViz and expand into new solutions.”

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Agco — whose ag equipment brands include Massey Ferguson, Fendt, Challenger and Valtra as well as grain bin and grain dryer maker GSI — said Friday it will retain 151’s 45 current employees and their Winnipeg office as the “smart grain technology center of excellence.”

An initial release of GrainViz is planned for “a limited number of bins this fall,” Agco said, ahead of a broader launch that’s expected to happen before the 2021 harvest.

GrainViz is billed as giving growers and commercial operators “advanced insight into the moisture content of the grain in their steel storage bins,” using spectral imaging to create a three-dimensional image of moisture distribution, without having to run sensing cables throughout the grain mass.

The system “allows users to see the moisture content throughout the entire grain mass to proactively manage the quality and quantity of their stored grain,” 151 CEO Paul Card said in Agco’s release.

“We are pleased Agco recognized the benefits this game-changing technology can bring to customers and shares our passion for finding smarter answers to the industry’s biggest challenges.”

“Our grain customers are facing significant challenges due to difficulty finding labour, low commodity prices and tight margins,” Stefan Caspari, Agco’s general manager for grain and protein, said in the same release.

“We need the sharpest minds working on finding answers to these challenges, and we believe this acquisition will help improve our customers’ operations through smarter technology.”

Agco, he said, hopes to use the technology toward “a connected experience across the entire grain system to increase efficiency and profitability for our customers.”

In business since 2011, 151 bills itself as a “boutique data assurance and custom development firm” developing “bespoke hardware and software solutions that allow our customers to gain actionable business insights.”

The company had worked with the University of Manitoba’s Electromagnetic Imaging Lab (EIL) to develop the radio imaging tech for GrainViz, “a world-first whole bin grain imaging system.”

Its remote sensing systems’ uses also include industrial monitoring, Arctic climate sensing, water quality sensing, oceanographic monitoring and oil and gas data collection.

The company also offers data analytics services such as “automated intrusion detection” algorithms, data aggregation and threat and risk assessments. –– Glacier FarmMedia Network

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Dave Bedard

Editor, Daily News, Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.

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