How Monsanto Is Driving a New Agricultural Revolutionhttp://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/11/23/monsanto-controls-the-uncontrollables.aspx Shamus Funk
November 23, 2013
When Monsanto (NYSE: MON) acquired The Climate Corporation on November 1, it effectively took control of all of the variables that farmers cannot control on their own. The goal of the acquisition is to provide farmers with more information and tools regarding the climate, and is in-line with Monsanto's goals of improving agricultural productivity.
Monsanto understands basic biology
A century ago, agriculture was a self-sustainable business where seeds were saved from season to season, fertilizer was provided on-farm by livestock, and pesticides were natural products that were used scarcely by today's standards. The twentieth century saw a radical change in agriculture, as the Haber Process revolutionized fertilizer and transformed it into a commodity business and chemical companies developed and marketed pesticides that enabled more consistent crop yields.
Monsanto's contributions came late, but have since spurred a second agricultural revolution. The commercialization of Roundup herbicide in 1976 and the subsequent introduction of Roundup Ready Soybeans twenty years later changed the playing field. Monsanto's Roundup Ready Seeds and the Pioneer Hi-Bred products now owned by DuPont were created in response to farmer demand, with farmers seeking to get the highest yields from their crops. Seeds have since become an absolute consumable, and farmers' dependence on Roundup translated into Monsanto seeds being a no-brain decision.
Why Monsanto is making a climate move
Monsanto engineers plant traits that enable healthy growth under extreme conditions. Roundup Ready Seeds were an early example, where plants were engineered to withstand a broad-spectrum herbicide that made for less-than-hospitable conditions for the plant