The next new things in agtech could be electric pickup trucks to pull farm equipment and tractors that run on biomethane, Clinton Griffiths writes. European organic food producer AUGA is already testing a tractor that can run for 12 hours on methane fuel made in digesters from livestock waste.
CIBO Technologies, a startup that uses satellite technology and machine learning to help farmers improve the sustainability, productivity and value of farmland, raised $30 million in its Series C funding round. The company said its primary objective is to pick up the pace of "regenerative agriculture," an initiative to make farms more sustainable.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based startup Poladrone has raised $4.29 million in a funding round to further expand systems of controlling Rhinoceros beetles in palm oil crops. Poladrone uses drones, software and automation tools to combat the pests using precision spraying methods.
Netherlands-based Nutreco has invested in Stellapps, a startup based in India that works with rural dairy farmers to help them operate more efficiently. Stellapps' smartMoo platform helps farmers access veterinary care, financial services and nutrition information.
Companies including Naio Technologies and FarmWise showed off their latest robotic weeding equipment in recent demonstrations at the University of Arizona. Naio's battery-powered robots operate autonomously for up to 10 hours on one charge and service provider FarmWise deploys robots to help farmers eliminate weeds without chemicals.
Recent tests of a robotic pollinator from Israel-based Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture revealed the technology increased pistachio yields in a California orchard by 24% compared to control groups. Yields have been falling in recent years for pistachios and other crops that depend on wind for pollination, said Edete co-founder and vice president of business development and marketing Keren Mimran.
Biotechnology is one method that can boost crop yield on corn farms, writes Pablo Luna. The use of biotech corn seeds can offer superior nutritional value and "increase global biodiversity," Luna writes.
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TopSoil, a platform from Iowa-based startup Continuum Ag, offers farmers a single interface for compiling soil data they can use to implement regenerative ag practices and measure the results. "In order to be able to better communicate your data through the supply chain and make a sustainability claim, or just to be able to better manage your agronomic insights with your consultant, all your data needs to be in one place," founder and CEO Mitchell Hora said.
More than 80 agricultural and produce trade groups have registered objections to the Environmental Protection Agency's new rule that effectively will end the use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos, a chemical that has been linked to potential neurological damage in children. Groups including the Cherry Marketing Institute argue the decision was made without input from stakeholders and say the new rule would leave growers vulnerable to pests they have no other way to control.
Audrey Altmann is a food and beverage editor at SmartBrief where she writes and edits content about the consumer packaged goods, beverage, agriculture, foodservice and school nutrition industries. If you like SmartBrief on AgTech, hate it or want to submit a story, send her an email.
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