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AgTech FoodTech Incubation

Tesco Agri T-Jam 2020 open for entries for agri-tech start-ups

The Tesco Agri T-Jam has partnered with World Agri-Tech to offer seed and early-stage agri-tech innovators from around the world, the opportunity to work with the UK’s leading food retailer and its supply chain partners. Entries are invited until JULY 28 from agri-tech start-ups with innovative breakthrough technologies and solutions to improve supply chain efficiency and sustainability.

Following an in-depth selection process by the Agri T-Jam judging committee, ten finalists will be revealed during the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit on September 15. At least one start-up will be selected for fast-track introductions and mentoring by the Tesco agriculture team and its supplier network.

“At Tesco, our ambition is to find new products, ideas and technologies that will help us serve our customers, colleagues and communities even better in the future. We want to work with people who have new ideas to help enhance what we do, or how we do things.”

Natalie Smith, Head of Agriculture at Tesco

Tesco is looking for technologies in the following priority areas:

  1. Predictive Farming
  2. Crop Specific Solutions, Shelf Life & Storage
  3. Improving Soil Health & Resilience
  4. Water Quality Analysis & Irrigation
  5. Robotics, Automation & Sensor Technology
  6. Protecting & Supporting Biodiversity
  7. Livestock: Animal Health & Welfare
  8. Supply Chain Efficiency & Waste Reduction
  9. Indoor & Vertical Farming
  10. Operating Remotely

The 2020 Tesco Agri T-Jam Final will be held as a virtual event on Monday October 19 with the judging commitee, supply chain partners and Tesco colleagues. Each finalist will then present again in a showcase webinar promoted to the World Agri-Tech global network, before the winner is revealed.

Roboscientific, a Cambridge-based start-up which uses sensors, ‘Electronic nose’ to detect contamination in agricultural produce was the winner of Tesco TJam Innovation Award for Agriculture 2019. It uses an array of Volatile Organic Compounds that individually respond to the vapours producing a unique response pattern for each separate type of compound or mix of compounds. The technology was at the point of commercialisation for its automatic early disease detection system for growing broiler poultry and early alerts of spoilage in stored potato and onion crops.

The 2018 winner was ImpactVision, a machine learning company, applying hyper-spectral imaging technology to food supply chains to deliver consistent food quality, generate premium products and reduce supply chain waste. The information generated from its technology allows stakeholders across food supply chains to assess product quality in real-time, making decisions that help to achieve superior product consistency, deliver premium quality and prevent supply chain waste

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AgTech Machine Learning

AI-driven agritech startup, Connecterra, raised €7.8 million to make the dairy industry more productive

Dutch startup Connecterra has secured €7.8 million ($8.75 million) in a Series B funding round from a group of investors including ADM Capital, Kersia, Pymwymic, Breed Reply and Sistema_VC. Connecterra, founded in 2014, aims to empower animal farmers of all sizes to increase productivity, while reducing the substantial impact that animal agriculture has on our planet.

Connecterra is headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and operates in 16 countries. The €7.8 million raised is the biggest ever series B funding round completed by a Dutch AgTech company active in farm animal technology. 

Connecterra’s Intelligent Dairy Farmers Assistant “Ida” is an artificial intelligence-powered service that uses data collected from dairy cows to offer meaningful insights and recommendations. With the funds the startup Connecterra will accelerate the growth of its predictive AI platform, ‘Ida’. So far ‘Ida’ has evolved from sensor tech to a full-stack technology and AI platform, combining proprietary sensor hardware, animal data, third-party enterprise data, and machine-learning algorithms.

“Empowering farmers and the industry with a connected, AI driven platform is a necessity for the future of food production. The COVID-19 outbreak has brought into sharp focus the weaknesses in our food system that is disconnected and faces threats from climate change and a dwindling labor workforce. With the support of our top-class investors, customers and partners, we are well positioned to democratize access to our technology to millions of farmers across the globe.”

Yasir Khokhar, CEO of Connecterra

Connecterra has seen adoption of the Ida platform by industry giants such as Danone, Bayer and food safety expert Kersia. The technology is being used to create sustainable farming models that have eliminated the use of hormones, reduced antibiotic usage by up to 50%, and increased farm efficiency. The platform is also part of the Farming for Generations (F4G) consortium led by Danone, aimed at implementing regenerative agriculture practices.

The latest funding will equip Connecterra with the funding needed to grow its presence in dairy leading regions such as Europe, North America and New Zealand and further scale out and develop the AI models and technology behind Ida.

Read more at Connecterra

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AgTech Machine Learning

CSIRO and AgTech company Goanna Ag have announced a partnership to maximise the use of irrigation water

Australia’s national science agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and agtech company Goanna Ag have announced a partnership that will see sensors and analytics combined to maximise every drop of irrigation water used to grow crops. Under the partnership, Goanna Ag will incorporate WaterWise, a CSIRO-developed technology, into its existing GoField irrigation management system.

Goanna Ag, formed in July 2018, is an Australian AgTech company delivering the next generation of smart farming practices. Through low cost, low power, long range sensors and networks, they work with growers to provide data-driven solutions that simplify farm resource management and improve water-use efficiency.

For Goanna Ag and its customers, being involved in this innovation means they can access brand-new, Australian-made, science-based technology and incorporate it into their existing GoField system. Being able to predict when to irrigate will allow our clients – farmers – to plan based on what the plant needs.

Alicia Garden, CEO, Goanna Ag

The WaterWise system measure the canopy temperature of crops every 15 minutes. The field data, in sync with the weather forecast is then processed using CSIRO’s unique algorithm to predict the crop’s water requirements for the next seven days. WaterWise team leader Dr Rose Brodrick explains that predicting the future is the real breakthrough science. It means for the first time, growers can see the water stress of their crops at any point and predict their future water needs.

“Just like humans, plants have an optimum temperature. When things are normal it’s easier to predict when a plant will need water. But when conditions change — like with a new crop, a new field, or unusually hot or cold weather forecasted — farmers want backup with their decision making.”

WaterWise team leader Dr Rose Brodrick

The next steps for WaterWise are to take it from in-field based canopy sensors to drones or satellites. Goanna Ag expects the system incorporating WaterWise will be commercially available in time for the 2020 summer cropping season.

Read more at CSIRO