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AgTech Digest: AI, Sustainability, and Global Partnerships

Navigating the Future of Agriculture: Pioneering Partnerships and Innovations

In the ever-evolving landscape of global agriculture, groundbreaking partnerships, and technological innovations are not just shaping the present but are also paving the way for a sustainable and prosperous future.

From AI-driven crop protection to smart farming solutions that promise to redefine our relationship with the land, the agricultural sector is witnessing a remarkable transformation. In this comprehensive wrap-up, we delve into the latest collaborations and advancements that are setting new standards in agricultural practices.

Join us as we explore these exciting developments that stand at the forefront of agricultural resilience and sustainability, highlighting the ingenious efforts of industry leaders and innovators in their quest to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Partnerships

Iktos & Bayer Crop Science Collaborate For Sustainable Crop Protection

Iktos and Bayer Crop Science have teamed up to use AI to develop sustainable crop protection products. Bayer scientists will use Iktos's Makya software, a de novo generative design tool that can design and optimize novel molecules. The goal is to develop crop protection solutions with lower application rates and favorable safety profiles in alignment with Bayer's sustainability objectives. The Makya platform allows scientists to explore new and larger chemical spaces than before. This pioneering step in the industry aims to address critical challenges like climate change, pest resistance, and societal expectations regarding food and planetary health.

NativeSeed Group & Great Valley Seed Company Announce Strategic Alliance for Conservation Initiatives

NativeSeed Group (NSG) and Great Valley Seed Company (GVS) have formed a strategic alliance to address California’s large-scale conservation and pollinator health initiatives. The partnership leverages NSG's extensive experience in native seed production and GVS's expertise fostered by Bowles Farming Company. The alliance boasts unmatched production capabilities, a substantial inventory of native seeds, and scalable infrastructure. The partnership is committed to fulfilling upcoming conservation initiatives in California and meeting the demand for native seeds effectively.

Deep Sand Technology Partners with GEODNET Foundation

Deep Sand Technology (DST) and the GEODNET Foundation have partnered to offer cost-effective precision agriculture RTK services. This collaboration brings centimeter-accurate GPS access to rural areas across North America, improving farming operations and opening doors to new agricultural practices. The GEODNET RTK network, comprising over 3600 stations, covers over 1800 cities in over 100 countries. This partnership also has implications beyond agriculture, paving the way for advancements in various sectors.

UAE & Korean Consortium to Pilot AI-Powered Smart Farming Solution

Pure Harvest Smart Farms, Al Dahra Agriculture, and PlanTFarm are collaborating to revolutionize animal feed production in the Gulf Cooperation Council. They are using advanced AI-powered vertical farm technology to reduce capital and energy costs in farming fresh, nutritious animal feed. The smart farm in Al Ain, UAE, aims to decrease the UAE's import dependency and presents a scalable, economical, and sustainable farming model that can be replicated globally, particularly in water-scarce regions. Construction is set to commence in early 2024, and the results will be closely monitored for their implications on water conservation and animal productivity improvements.

Solinftec Latest News: US Expansion with WHIN

Solinftec has partnered with Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN) and Still Waters Manufacturing to establish a factory in rural Indiana capable of producing up to 20 Solix robots daily. This collaboration will revolutionize the agricultural sector by making advanced robotic technology more accessible to American producers. The manufacturing team will consist of locals, including many regional farmers, aligning with Solinftec's community-centric approach. The deployment of Solix robots has already achieved a significant reduction in herbicide volume, promoting sustainable agricultural practices. The robots have been adapted to the specific agricultural conditions of the American Midwest, ensuring that the benefits of advanced technology are maximally realized in the context of local farming practices.

Reports

Rabobank’s Field Crop Margin Outlook for 2024

Rabobank's Field Crop Margin Outlook for 2024 predicts stable global margins for soybeans, corn, and wheat despite rising costs. Soybean farmers have a favorable forecast, while corn farmers may face challenges due to healthy production volumes. Wheat farmers need to exercise caution. The report underscores the volatile nature of agricultural commodity markets and serves as a valuable guide for planning and decision-making in the year ahead.

Read Rabobank Field Crop Outlook here.

CoBank 2024 Outlook: Navigating Resilience & Challenges

The U.S. economy has shown resilience over the past three years but high prices are expected to impact the economy in 2024. Consumers are changing their purchasing behaviors due to inflation. The global economy is experiencing slowed growth and the surge in renewable diesel production is expected to shift more acres to soybean cultivation in 2024. The CoBank 2024 outlook report analyzes various sectors and markets serving rural communities, offering insights into the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Read the report here.

Acquisitions

Yara Acquires Agribios Italiana

Yara has acquired the organic-based fertilizer business of Agribios Italiana, marking its second bolt-on acquisition in Europe. The move aims to promote regenerative agriculture practices and improve soil health, supporting the EU's organic farming goals. By integrating Agribios’ expertise with Yara’s extensive scale and reach, the company aims to offer a wider range of sustainable agricultural solutions. Yara plans to maximize the synergies between organic-based and mineral fertilizers, integral to its regenerative agriculture offerings. The acquisition will strengthen Yara's foothold in Italy, aiming to increase sales by around 30% in the next three years.

Innospec Inc. Acquires QGP Química Geral

Innospec Inc. has completed the acquisition of Brazil-based specialty chemicals company QGP Química Geral. This move is set to strengthen Innospec’s foothold in South America, particularly in the agriculture sector. With 300 employees and expertise, QGP will enhance Innospec’s global portfolio with new surfactants and specialty chemistries. The acquisition aligns with Innospec's long-term focus to strengthen its Performance Chemicals segment and establish a manufacturing base in South America.

Funding Round & Investments

Deep Agro Raises $2M for AI Agricultural Advancements

An Argentine AI startup, Deep Agro, has raised $2 million in funding to expand into Brazil and the US. The company aims to revolutionize agricultural practices by using AI technology to reduce agrochemical usage. Deep Agro's AI solution distinguishes crops from weeds with a 4% margin of error and offers an 80% reduction in chemical product usage. The AgTech sector in Latin America is growing fast, and startups like Deep Agro are at the forefront of leveraging technology to address critical challenges in agriculture.

Chipotle Invests in Greenfield Robotics and Nitricity

Greenfield Robotics is revolutionizing weed control in broadacre crops with autonomous robot fleets, promoting sustainable agriculture. Chipotle's investment will help enhance its fleet and introduce new features like micro-spraying and soil testing. Nitricity is creating an environmentally friendly process to produce nitrogen fertilizer, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With Chipotle's backing, they aim to scale up production and make sustainable farming practices more accessible. Chipotle's Cultivate Next venture fund invites companies aligned with their vision to contribute to a more sustainable future.

Trials

Lumos Smart Irrigation Boosts Sustainability in Napa Vineyards

Lumo has partnered with Treasury Wine Estates for a trial of Lumo’s advanced irrigation technology in Napa vineyards. Lumo’s technology is designed to transform water management in vineyards and is under trial on 90 acres of TWE’s Napa vineyard land. Lumo and TWE’s shared vision is to achieve sustainability goals by implementing efficient irrigation practices. The company is launching a pre-order program for 2024, targeting growers in Napa and Sonoma.

ProGro BIO’s Successful 2023 Microbial Crop Trial Program

ProGro BIO completed its 2023 microbial crop trial program that tested Rhizol, an all-natural soil inoculant containing 35 probiotic microbes, across 15,000 acres in 23 states with the participation of over 100 farmers. Over 45% of the trials reported substantial benefits in plant emergence, growth, and yield. ProGro BIO aims to revolutionize agribusiness through natural microbial soil inoculation and sustainable agricultural practices.

New Company

NEOM Announces ‘Topian’, the NEOM Food Company

NEOM, the futuristic regional development in northwestern Saudi Arabia, has launched Topian, the NEOM Food Company. This initiative aims to redefine the paradigms of food production, distribution, and consumption on a global scale. Topian operates across five pillars: climate-proof agriculture, regenerative aquaculture, novel foods, personalized nutrition, and sustainable food supply. The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA) has extended its full support to Topian, underlining its alignment with the Kingdom’s ambitious Saudi Vision 2030. Topian brings together scientists, industry experts, and innovators to perfect the ‘Art of More with Less’ and to revolutionize the global food system.

Discover the project here.

Sustainable Agriculture

Crédit Agricole To Further Focus on Sustainable Agriculture

Crédit Agricole plans to aid the agricultural sector in reducing carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The bank aims to enhance food sovereignty and incentivize eco-friendly farming practices through a voluntary carbon credit market platform. It is also setting up transition funds targeting €1 billion to finance the agricultural sector's shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly methods. Additionally, the bank is promoting adopting renewable energy solutions in agriculture.

Read the entire press release to discover the other sectors the bank commits to.

Mondelēz International Advances Toward Net Zero Emissions

Mondelēz International announced its goal to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its entire value chain by 2050, aligning with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and the European Union’s Deforestation Regulation. The company has identified three critical areas for targeted investments: sustainable ingredient sourcing, operations overhaul, and logistics and distribution. Mondelēz is committed to global collaboration and innovation, leveraging proven models while driving technical advancement and public-private collaboration. The company also continues to explore collaborative financing and incubation through platforms like Sustainable Futures and advancing R&D in climate-smart technology.

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