Wow. What an event! Congratulations to all the finalists of the Syngenta Crop Challenge and to the team from Stanford University who is our winner for their submission, “Hierarchy modeling of soybean variety yield and decision making for future planting plan.” Out of more than 30 teams that signed up for The Challenge, the quality of presented by Xiaocheng Li, Hyauyang Zhong, David Lobell and Stefano Ermon excelled above the rest.
Humanity faces a tough challenge in the years ahead. With our global population expected to reach more than nine billion by the year 2050, we’ll have two billion more mouths to feed than we have today. Strains on agricultural productivity are in plain sight: we’ll need 30 percent more water, 50 more energy and 70 percent more yield to produce the food required to feed everyone. Our Syngenta Crop Challenge is one step in the right direction toward meeting those goals. While the winners entry stood out, all the solutions we received are worthy of merit, and there wasn’t one that completely addressed all the challenges. That said, pieces of all the submissions used in conjunction will help get us that much closer.
I want to personally thank the judging committee for their time, dedication and effort over the past five months. These challenges aren’t easy to execute, and a special thanks goes to Robin Lougee, our competition chairperson. Also, thank you to Bill Beavis, Arnie Greenland, Claudia Perlich, Jim Williams, Alexander Platt and Stein Wallace for serving on the committee.
Be on the lookout for our next Syngenta Crop Challenge, which is set to be announced on May 2. It’s going to be another great problem that I encourage all those who have the bandwidth and energy to enter!