Seed World

Syngenta Seeds and the Analytics Society of INFORMS Announce Finalists for the 2021 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics


Syngenta Seeds and the Analytics Society of INFORMS have announced the finalists for the 2021 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics. The four finalist teams represent students and professionals from the United States and Australia.

The Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics is a collaborative effort between Syngenta Seeds and the Analytics Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). Now in its sixth consecutive year, the competition brings together experts in data analytics, mathematics and statistics to create analytical solutions to agriculture challenges. The 2021 competition focused on optimizing year-round corn hybrid breeding processes.

The 2021 Syngenta Crop Challenge finalists, as selected by the prize committee and listed in no particular order, are:

  • Optimal Schedules for Corn Planting and Storage , Reena Kapoor and Rodolfo García-Flores affiliated with CSIRO Data61 (Australia).
  • Scheduling Planting Time Through Developing an Optimization Model and Analysis of Time Series Growing Degree Units , Javad Ansarifar, Faezeh Akhavizadegan and Lizhi Wang from Iowa State University (USA).
  • Optimizing Crop Planting Schedule Considering Planting Window & Harvesting Capacity , Saiara Samira Sajid and Guiping Hu from Iowa State University (USA).
  • A Multiobjective, Soft Constraint Solution to the 2021 Syngenta Crop Challenge , Mingshi Cui, Kunting Qi, Julia Loncala and Byran Smucker from Miami University (USA).

The 2021 Syngenta Crop Challenge embodied the intersection of mathematics, big data and agriculture. Using crop data, participants were charged with developing analytical approaches and models aimed at optimizing seed product development systems to help increase performance and crop yield potential across diverse environments.

“The finalists in this year’s competition delivered creative, innovative solutions to support better science to help solve real and complex challenges that farmers face,” says Durai Sundaramoorthi, senior lecturer of data analytics at Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis, and Crop Challenge prize committee chair. “The finalists’ submissions demonstrate why collaboration across industries and data-driven solutions are crucial to solving challenges in agriculture and beyond.”

The finalists have been invited to present their submissions in April during the 2021 virtual INFORMS Business Analytics Conference where the winners will be announced. The first-place winner will receive $5,000; the second-place winner will receive $2,500; and third place will receive $1,000.

“This competition reinforces the important role that data analytics have in the agriculture industry at a critical time as farmers face increasing pressures from climate change, soil erosion and biodiversity loss,” says Gregory Doonan, head of advanced analytics, Syngenta Seeds. “Developing models and approaches that improve our decision making and identification of elite and stable genetics can help scientists at organizations like Syngenta make advances in seed product development while ultimately addressing growers needs and the growing global food demand.”