How Precision Ag Tech Helps Plant Breeders Deal with Extreme Weather

by | Nov 20, 2023 | Seed Speaks

As climate change continues to reshape our agricultural landscapes, the intersection of technology and sustainable farming practices takes center stage in the upcoming episode of Seed Speaks. Join us Nov. 22 at 12 p.m. CST as we explore the critical role of precision agriculture in empowering plant breeders and the seed industry to navigate and overcome the challenges posed by extreme weather conditions.

From droughts to floods, wildfires to heatwaves, discover how cutting-edge technologies are becoming indispensable tools for cultivating resilience in the seed sector.

Key Highlights:

  • There are big challenges in seed production and breeding caused by changes in climate and extreme weather conditions — Speakers will emphasize the need to match genetics to specific environments and how digital agriculture and data can play a crucial role in achieving this. The goal is to move towards a more precise understanding of optimal crop growth by collecting comprehensive data on trial sites and using it to match seed performance with specific environmental conditions.
  • There’s potential in real-time insights for improving seed and plant breeding — Speakers envision a future where every seed comes with a digital playbook, offering dynamic guidance based on real-time data throughout the growing season. They will highlight the importance of real-time data in managing trials and creating digital products that can enhance yield, profitability, and consistency in crop performance.
  • Digital technology can provide real-time data for managing trials, evaluating crop performance, and making informed decisions — Examples include using spectral data to analyze nitrogen content in leaves and monitoring photosynthetically active radiation for better understanding crop growth.


  • Austin Dobbels, corn breeding project specialist with Syngenta — Dobbels is a corn breeder based in Malta, Ill. He has a huge interest in drones and has studied how they can be used for high-throughput phenotyping of soybean iron deficiency chlorosis. At Syngenta, he’s part of a team with the task of developing 105 to 120 RM corn hybrids with responsibilities related to inbred line and commercial hybrid corn development.
  • Jim Ethington, CEO of Arable — Based in San Francisco, Calif. Ethington is the former vice-president of product at The Climate Corporation, where he helped build Climate FieldView, the most widely adopted digital agriculture solution on the market. He shaped the product from concept to deployment on over 50 million paid acres around the world today, creating one of the largest ag-focused, connected device networks in the world. As CEO of Arable, Ethington focuses on product iteration, team building, and scaling up go-to-market for the “decision agriculture” technology company.

This episode is a timely exploration of how technology isn’t just adapting to change but actively contributing to the resilience of our agricultural systems.

Join us on Nov. 22 at 12 p.m. CST on Seed World U.S., Seed World Canada, Seed World Europe and the Alberta Seed Guide’s Facebook pages, Seed World U.S.’s LinkedIn page and Seed World Group’s YouTube page to watch the discussion.

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