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NVidia's Venture Arm Invests In Carbon Robotics

Global Agri-Tech Developments This Week: From Methane Reduction Breakthroughs to Advanced AI-Driven Farming Solutions

Good morning, readers! We hope this message finds you well and ready to embrace the day ahead. Whether sipping your morning coffee or gearing up for a busy day, we bring you the latest insights and updates.

Let’s dive into this week’s developments!

Funding Round: NVidia’s Venture Arm Invests In Carbon Robotics

carbon robotics laserweeder

Carbon Robotics Secures Investment from NVentures to Advance AI in Farming.

Carbon Robotics has received investment from NVentures, the venture arm of NVidia . Their LaserWeeder™ product uses AI-powered farming technology to eliminate weeds with sub-millimeter accuracy, targeting and destroying up to 5,000 weeds per minute. This innovative technology relies on a vast agricultural image dataset, making it one of the world's largest and most diverse of its kind.

Paul Mikesell, CEO and founder of Carbon Robotics, expressed enthusiasm about AI's potential to reshape future farms and food systems into more productive and profitable entities. Mohamed “Sid” Siddeek, corporate vice president and head of NVentures, also commented on the investment, noting that AI and robotics hold great promise for overcoming the diverse challenges faced by the agricultural sector. He highlighted how Carbon Robotics’ solutions improve farming methods and raise the quality of food available to consumers.

ArkeaBio™, a pioneering ag-biotech startup, has successfully closed a $26.5 million Series A financing round, taking a significant step forward in its mission to reduce global livestock methane emissions. Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) led the funding round, which included participation from several prominent investors, such as The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, AgriZeroNZ, Rabo Ventures, Overview Capital, and The51 Food & AgTech Fund.

Livestock methane emissions are a major contributor to global warming. ArkeaBio’s innovative vaccine aims to tackle this issue head-on by reducing the methane emitted by livestock, equivalent to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 annually. Chris Rivest, Chairman of the Board at ArkeaBio and partner at BEV, emphasized the importance of this initiative, stating, “Reducing methane emissions from the agricultural sector is one of the most pressing challenges in today’s fight against climate change.”

In collaboration with the Saskatchewan provincial government, the Canadian government has announced a substantial investment to bolster agricultural research. Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, together with David Marit, Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minister, has committed $25 million to support the creation of 15 strategic research chairs at the University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) College of Agriculture and Bioresources.

Both federal and provincial ministers highlighted the importance of this funding in fostering long-term growth and resilience within the agriculture sector. Minister MacAulay noted the essential role of innovative research in maintaining a competitive edge, stating, “Investing in research is vitally important to the long-term resilience and continued growth of Canada’s agriculture sector.”

BharatRohan Raises $2.3M in Pre-IPO Funding for Agtech Expansion

BharatRohan, an agtech firm specializing in drone-based hyperspectral remote sensing, announced a successful $2.3 million pre-IPO funding round. This round includes investments from Villgro Innovation Foundation, Caspian, RevX, and Venture Garage, along with contributions from a group of Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals. This funding is a strategic mix of debt and equity financing to advance the company’s technological capabilities and market reach.

“The technologies we are developing are crucial for providing real-time, data-driven insights that help optimize resource allocation and enhance crop resilience against unpredictable weather patterns,” stated Amandeep Panwar, co-founder of BharatRohan.

Superplum Secures $15M in Series A Funding to Revolutionize India’s Produce Supply Chains

Indian ag-tech startup Superplum has successfully closed its Series A funding round, raising $15 million. Erik Ragatz, a former partner and current senior advisor at the global private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, led this round and will also serve as the company’s incoming chairman. The round includes support from high-profile investors such as Mark Siegel, Dan Rose, Steve Jurvetson, Rick Kimball, Binny Bansal, and Kabir Misra.

Erik Ragatz highlighted Superplum’s disruptive potential in the Indian produce markets, noting the positive impact the company’s success could have on its stakeholders, including enhanced farmer incomes, reduced food waste, and healthier options for consumers. Shobhit Gupta, cofounder and CEO of Superplum, emphasized the transformative potential of reimagined supply chains that deliver superior, safer produce to Indian consumers, noting significant consumer satisfaction and the high quality of their products.

Financial Results

local bounti greenhouse

Local Bounti Reports Strong Q1 2024 Results and Optimistic Future Projections

For Q1 2024, Local Bounti experienced a 25% increase in sales, reaching $8.4 million, compared to $6.7 million in the same period last year. This increase primarily stems from expanded production at the company’s Georgia facility. Despite a net loss of $24.1 million, slightly higher than the previous year’s $23.5 million, the company is making significant strides in operational efficiency and cost management.

Craig Hurlbert, CEO of Local Bounti, expressed satisfaction with the company’s trajectory, stating, “Our first quarter results were consistent with our expectations and demonstrated strong operational progress.” He highlighted the significant increase in packed volumes at their Georgia facility and the ongoing trials that have shown potential to increase yields by at least 10% further.

FMC Corporation Reports Its Q1 2024 Financial Results

FMC Corporation has disclosed a considerable downturn in its financial performance for the first quarter of 2024. The company’s revenue of $918 million represents a 32% drop from the same period last year. This decline was echoed in a significant decrease in adjusted earnings per share, which fell by 80% to $0.36, albeit slightly above the guidance midpoint.

The decrease in performance can be largely attributed to a 27% decline in volume, with channel destocking affecting all regions. The company also faced price reductions and adverse foreign currency impacts. However, FMC’s leadership emphasized the benefits derived from strategic restructuring actions and the resilience of new products, especially in the Latin American markets where new fungicides like Xyway® and Adastrio® outperformed other portfolio items.

Nutrien Ltd Reports Q1 2024 Earnings

Nutrien Ltd., a global leader in the agricultural sector, unveiled its financial results for the first quarter of 2024 today, highlighting a mix of challenges and strategic responses to evolving market conditions. With net earnings of $165 million and diluted net earnings per share of $0.32, the company navigated through a complex period marked by fluctuating demand and pricing dynamics in the fertilizer market.

Nutrien’s financial results for Q1 2024 reflected a nuanced landscape. While the company saw a decrease in net earnings and adjusted EBITDA compared to the previous year, this was partially offset by stronger Retail segment performance and efficiencies gained from production enhancements. The adjusted net earnings per share stood at $0.46, underlining the ongoing efforts to optimize financial health amidst variable market conditions.

Partnerships & Acquisitions

Stara sprayer in latin america

Stara Launches Groundbreaking Precision Weed Management Sprayer in Latin America

ONE SMART SPRAY has announced the launch of the Imperador 4000 Eco Spray by Stara, marking a significant advancement in crop protection technology in Latin America. The unveiling occurred at the recent Agrishow in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, where Stara showcased its innovative sprayer equipped with a precision weed management system developed in collaboration with Bosch and BASF Digital Farming.

The Imperador 4000 Eco Spray is designed to optimize the application of herbicides through a sophisticated camera-based system and artificial intelligence developed by Bosch. This technology allows for real-time detection of weeds and enables selective spraying only where weeds are detected, significantly reducing the quantity of chemicals used. The system also incorporates xarvio® Digital Farming Solutions by BASF, which provides advanced digital and agronomic intelligence, including weed distribution maps, herbicide program recommendations, and automated documentation.

Centuria Enhances Agricultural Portfolio with Katunga Fresh Glasshouse Acquisition

Centuria Capital Group (ASX: CNI), an Australasian real estate fund manager, has expanded its agricultural holdings by purchasing a 21-hectare glasshouse from Katunga Fresh in Katunga, Victoria. The facility is now part of the unlisted, open-ended Centuria Agriculture Fund (CAF), bringing its total AUM to approximately $450 million across its portfolio.

Jason Huljich, Centuria Joint CEO, remarked on the acquisition’s strategic fit within the company’s investment framework: “The acquisition of the Katunga facility aligns with our strategic goals to invest in high-quality assets that are fundamental to Australia’s agricultural infrastructure. This facility meets our stringent investment criteria and brings a robust tenant covenant, ensuring stable, long-term yields.”

Varda Partners With Epoch

Epoch partners with Varda to integrate Global FieldID service with Epoch’s Supply Chain CO2 API. The integration enables better monitoring and reporting of environmental data across various land plots, contributing to more accountable supply chain management.

Jinal Surti, CEO and Co-Founder of Epoch emphasized the shift towards more transparent supply chains, stating, “We see more and more of our customers transitioning from interacting with a ‘black-boxed’ commodities market to more transparent and trusted supply chains that carry environmental data along with the commodity throughout that value chain.”

Davide Ceper, CEO at Varda, highlighted the alignment of their missions and the broader implications of their collaboration: “Our mission is to facilitate the complex process of documenting regenerative farming practices through trusted data, especially for smallholder farmers… This is not just about compliance, but also about creating a culture of transparency and responsibility that will enable us to feed the planet responsibly in the long term.”

Innovation AgriTech Group Partners with University of Essex to Install First Commercial Standard Vertical Farm in UK University

Innovation Agritech Group (IAG), a leader in aeroponic vertical farming technology, today announced the successful installation of their GrowFrame360™ system at the University of Essex. This installation is the first of its kind in a UK university and is located within the University’s new £3 million Smart Technology Experimental Plant Suite (STEPS). The collaboration aims to advance sustainable agricultural practices and integrate cutting-edge research in an educational setting.

GrowFrame360™, noted for its minimal water use and soil-free growing capabilities, is central to the University’s strategy to foster innovative plant research. “Today’s announcement represents a significant step forward in combining advanced technology, education, and research to address global challenges,” stated Kate Brunswick, Business Development Director at IAG. The system employs an automatic aeroponic irrigation system that recycles 98% of the water used, showcasing its efficiency and environmental benefits.

FMC Corporation Announces Research Partnership with AgroSpheres

FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC), a prominent player in the global agricultural sciences industry, has officially announced a new research agreement with biotechnology innovator AgroSpheres. This partnership is set to fast-track the development and discovery of cutting-edge bioinsecticides, aligning with FMC’s strategic objectives for long-term growth and sustainability in crop protection.

The collaboration is designed to strengthen FMC’s leadership in the insecticide sector and enhance AgroSpheres’ speed to market, especially for its RNA portfolio. By integrating AgroSpheres’ sophisticated production and formulation technology with FMC’s extensive capabilities in high throughput testing, evaluation, and marketing, the partnership is poised to deliver significant advancements in the field of sustainable agriculture.

In 2023, FMC Ventures made a strategic investment in AgroSpheres, recognizing the potential of the startup’s biodegradable micro-encapsulation technology. This technology aims to revolutionize the delivery, stability, and efficacy of biological crop protection products using RNA interference (RNAi) technology.

Plant Science

Monteloeder Strategic Move in Agronomical Research: Elevating Lemon Verbena in Spain

Monteloeder, a subsidiary of SUANNUTRA and a leader in nutraceuticals, announced its participation in the La Vera Campo Arañuelo Hub, a groundbreaking agronomical research initiative in Cáceres, Spain. This project focuses on replacing tobacco cultivation with botanical crops, including Monteloeder’s flagship ingredient, lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora).

Lemon verbena, known for its pleasant lemon fragrance and medicinal benefits, is central to Monteloeder’s portfolio of bioactive ingredients. Traditionally used for its digestive and anti-inflammatory properties, the plant has a rich profile of bioactive compounds, including flavonoids and essential oils. Monteloeder’s involvement in the hub underscores its commitment to leveraging the plant’s full potential in various health categories.

Bioceres Crop Solution Achieves Regulatory Approval in Brazil for Bio-Insecticidal Solutions

Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp. has announced a significant achievement: Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAPA) has approved three innovative bio-insecticidal and bio-nematicidal products. These products are based on the company’s proprietary Burkholderia platform and use inactivated microbial cells—a first in the industry for products of this nature.

Federico Trucco, CEO of Bioceres, expressed optimism about the approval’s impact on Brazil’s growth and global market strategy. The innovative bio-control solutions promise competitive pricing against conventional insecticidal treatments, offering a viable and sustainable alternative for Brazilian farmers and potentially leading to significant market shifts in agricultural practices.

Syngenta Extends Leadership in Fungicides with ADEPIDYN® Technology

Syngenta Group, a leader in agricultural technology, has announced a significant extension of its fungicide leadership through the success of its patented ADEPIDYN® technology, which contains the active ingredient pydiflumetofen. Recently registered in Great Britain, this technology is now accessible to farmers in over 55 countries worldwide. Syngenta is nearing a landmark with projected sales reaching one billion US dollars, a notable achievement for a product introduced only eight years ago.

Ioana Tudor, Global Head of Marketing at Syngenta Crop Protection, highlighted the transformative impact of ADEPIDYN® on agriculture. “ADEPIDYN® technology is a game-changer for modern agriculture and enables farmers to grow crops more sustainably,” Tudor stated. It offers high consistency and effectiveness in controlling a broad range of crop diseases, underpinning Syngenta’s commitment to high yields and minimal planetary impact.

ADAMA Announces Launch of EDAPTIS® in Poland

ADAMA Ltd, a global leader in crop protection, announced the initial registration of its innovative herbicide, EDAPTIS®, in Poland. EDAPTIS® is designed as a ready-to-use solution that provides comprehensive control over grassy weeds and is effective against resistant weed populations.

EDAPTIS® is applied post-emergent as a foliar herbicide, combining two primary modes of action: Pinoxaden (Group 1) and Mesosulfuron (Group 2). This combination allows for a broader spectrum of efficacy against grassy weeds and helps mitigate the issue of herbicide resistance, especially with hard-to-kill grasses. According to ADAMA, the unique stacking of modes of action in a post-emergent application improves weed control compared to conventional products.

Darren Palendat, Global Herbicide Product Strategy at ADAMA, highlighted the importance of this new formulation, stating, “With farmers across Europe seeking innovative and quality solutions that deliver tangible benefits in the field, addressing grassy weed resistance becomes increasingly crucial. By thinking outside the box and understanding farmers’ needs and market dynamics, we ensure that our solutions provide tangible value to our customers.”

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