More than one billion people are employed in the agriculture industry worldwide, many of them small farmers with less than 2 hectares of land in countries where agtech could be a solution for food insecurity, according to the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The United Nations Capital Development Fund's Agritech Challenge 2021 is seeking tech-centric solutions for ag issues related to climate change, supply chain glitches and productivity.
The Climate Corporation is rolling out improvements to its FieldView platform that are based on the input it solicited from the farmers who use the company's digital tools. "One of the key pieces of feedback we've received over the last year is that farmers wanted an easier way to cut, for lack of a better term, their data in different ways," said Brent Craig, who joined the company as US commercial director late last year.
Bayer and crop health company Enko have teamed to develop new crop protection solutions based on innovations and discoveries made during pharmaceutical research. Innovations are needed as more weeds become resistant to existing herbicides and climate change fosters the spread of invasive weeds.
Kentucky-based high-tech farming startup AppHarvest has secured a $91 million construction loan from investment management firm Equilibrium Capital that will fund the development of 12 additional indoor farming facilities by 2025. "[Equilibrium's] continued support of our mission shows confidence in our business model to build a climate-resilient food system based on great-tasting, nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables with more predictable yield and quality," said Jonathan Webb, founder and CEO of AppHarvest.
UK-based startup Small Robot Company has raised approximately $2.77 million in its fourth crowdfunding effort. The company has created several robots to perform ag functions including mapping fields, analyzing images to gather plant data and eradicating weeds without chemicals.
New Holland's MyPLM Connect system has integrated the company's NutriSense system, allowing farmers to view crop nutrition data via the MyPLM portal. The data helps farmers calculate rates of fertilizer applications for current and future crops.
Technology that makes farm machinery work together can seem mysterious and hard to troubleshoot when it breaks down, but much of the control logic and strategy has been in use for four decades, Ray Bohacz writes. While proposed Right to Repair legislation would help, farmers likely have more and simpler fixes for such glitches already, Bohacz writes.
A group of farmers in the Netherlands has partnered to create a hydrogen-powered field robot called the E-robotiller with funding from the Dutch government. The automated machine, which is designed to perform a variety of functions in the field, is expected to launch this autumn.
Oregon blueberry farm owner Jim Hoffmann will be part of a multi-state test of Monarch Tractor's new electric smart tractors, made to work with or without a driver. Hoffmann anticipates the machine will reduce air and noise pollution and save on fuel and labor costs.