John Deere is paying big bucks for a California startup that brings machine learning to agricultural spraying equipment.
Moline, IL-based Deere & Company announced Wednesday that is has agreed to acquire Blue River Technology for $305 million. The startup, which was founded in 2011 by two Stanford University graduates, focuses on crop protection by improving the accuracy of herbicide spraying machines. Blue River’s technology allows farmers to spray only where weeds are present, which reduces the amount of chemicals used.
John Deere said it plans to keep Blue River’s 60-person team in Sunnyvale. The company called the acquisition similar to Deere’s purchase of NavCom Technology in 1999, established Deere as an early leader in GPS technology for agriculture.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with a Blue River Technology team that is highly skilled and intensely dedicated to rapidly advancing the implementation of machine learning in agriculture,” John May, president of agricultural solutions and chief information officer at Deere, said in a statement. “As a leader in precision agriculture, John Deere recognizes the importance of technology to our customers. Machine learning is an important capability for Deere’s future.”
The transaction is expected to close this month.