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Measuring soil health, autonomous weeder among innovations at World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit

A dynamic group of nine international ag tech start-ups will take the digital stage at the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit to showcase their ground-breaking solutions to advance agriculture. The virtual event is being held on September 15 to 16, 2020.

Supported by the summit’s innovation partner, EIT Food RisingFoodStars, and hosted by investor judges, the Start-Up Showcases are a highlight of the summit’s themed tracks focused on sustainability, automation and digitization, and supply chain transparency and resiliency. 

"We're keen to see the quantifiable value proposition that start-ups have toward their customer, and how they plan to keep innovating to remain a valuable partner to their customers in the long-run," says Thomas van den Boezem, Business Creation & Investment Manager, EIT.

Below are the nine ag tech companies chosen from around the globe.

Theme 1: Sustainability

Greenback (France)

Launched in 2019, Greenback is the first global rating agency for cultivated soils. The company’s mission is to measure soil health to ensure sustainability. By combining soil sample data and metadata to enhance ratings reliability and predictability, Greenback researchers and engineers have created a tool to measure the impact of ag practices on the ecological health of the soil.

Features of the platform include the ability to:

• Track the evolution of the health status of all of your fields over time.
• Analyze each field or aggregate them into a global score.
• Factualize the impact of your farming practices based on the actual state of your soils.
• Compare your performance to international benchmarks or to your competitors.
• Communicate the information to customers or consumers.

Vultus (Sweden)

Vultus has developed a global scalable infrastructure that can allow anyone in the agricultural supply chain to get access, offer, and leverage its proprietary fertilizer recommendations through APIs. “We are on a mission to eliminate waste in farming through satellite-based recommendations. Today, almost all inputs are spread evenly across the field, and dosages are largely guesstimated,” says Robert Schmitt, Founder and CEO, Vultus.

Soil Carbon Co (Australia)

The company develops microbial technology to capture atmospheric carbon on a gigaton scale and return it to the soil, while improving soil health and allowing farmers to enter the new carbon economy.

Theme 2: Automation and Digitization

GrainSense (Finland)

This start-up has developed the first truly hand-held device for grain quality measurement. With this technology, farmers, seed producers, and plant breeders will have the ability to rapidly measure the key parameters of their crops in the field and make decisions that can improve profitability. 

Kiwi Technologies (USA)

Kiwi Technologies is pairing a large-format unmanned aerial vehicle with a custom-designed ground support platform to distribute chemicals, seeds, and more required by commercial farms. With rates of up to 20 gallons per acre, using typical nozzles and spray patterns, the Kiwi Application System delivers high-precision coverage from the air.

Odd.Bot (Netherlands)

The team at Odd.Bot believes the industry needs a bold solution to reduce the use of herbicides to kill weeds.

Supported by heavy-duty tires, its Weed Whacker robot works by autonomously moving along rows of crops. A mechanism in the center of the robot extends down to extract weeds as it moves through a field. Cameras and sensors keep the robot on track and away from growing crops, no matter the width of the row. 

The robot-as-a-service start-up says its goal is to save more than 170,000 liters (about 45,000 gallons) of chemical herbicides in the next seven years.

Theme 3: Supply Chain Transparency and Resiliency

Aanika Biosciences (USA)

Founded in 2018, Aanika is bridging the gap between biology and the digital world by generating endless combinations of biological tags to track products as they travel through the supply chain. Tags are safe and edible and can withstand harsh conditions.

Five benefits of the tagging system include:

  1. Source verification. Materials, which are tagged at the source, can be checked to confirm their origins at any point in the supply chain.
  2. Product authenticity. With the microbial tags, the proof is inside the product itself. At any point in the supply chain, a checkpoint can be added to further protect your business.
  3. Quality assurance. Aanika scientists have developed ways to quantify tags, which let you know if a product has been diluted or if untagged material has been added to it.
  4. Limited recalls. Should a product need to be recalled, infinite tag customization enables it to be done precisely, which limits your financial and legal exposure as well as your company’s reputation.
  5. Useful data mining. Aanika’s tagging system enables a deep dive into what’s actually happening throughout your supply chain and can be coupled with a back-end system that gives you new insights to help reduce costs.

Strella Biotechnology (USA)

Over one third of produce never reaches the consumer, which creates massive loss and cost. Of the produce that does reach the consumer, much of it doesn’t meet the quality or ripeness consumers want.

Strella Biotechnology has created a solution that uses biosensors to maximize freshness of produce throughout the supply chain. The company’s ethylene-detection device is placed in the cold storage room of a packing house. An alert is sent if there is an increase in ethylene production, which is the chemical that starts the ripening process. This gives the packing house a countdown to get the fruit into grocery stores before it spoils.

Connecting Food (France)

Connecting Food is the first blockchain solution in the world to track and digitally audit food products in real-time from farm to fork, all on an interoperable platform. Founded by agri-food experts, it uses industry knowledge to map food supply chains and improve internal traceability. It also helps brands and retailers improve their external transparency via a QR code and storytelling, as well as restore consumer confidence in food.

Click on World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit to see a full list of sessions and speakers for the two-day virtual event.

World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit 2020

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