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  • This Week's AgTech Digest: farm-ng Banks $10M, John Deere Partners With SpaceX, Syngenta's Latest Fungicide Discovery & More!

This Week's AgTech Digest: farm-ng Banks $10M, John Deere Partners With SpaceX, Syngenta's Latest Fungicide Discovery & More!

Discover this week's latest developments from the agtech industry!

Hello there! This is Sep, here to report the latest developments in the AgTech industry this week!

In this edition of our newsletter, we take you on a journey through the dynamic world of agricultural technology, highlighting the pivotal strides and transformations occurring across the industry.

From Nasekomo's impressive funding in insect bioconversion to the groundbreaking satellite communications partnership between Deere & Company and SpaceX, we cover a spectrum of innovations and collaborations that are reshaping the future of farming. Dive into detailed updates on recent funding rounds, strategic partnerships, and the latest in plant science, each segment offering a glimpse into how these advancements contribute to sustainable and efficient agricultural practices.

Let's uncover the stories that made headlines and explore what they mean for the future of agriculture.

Funding Round

Nasekomo Secures €8 Million in Series A Funding, Expands Insect Bioconversion Facilities

Nasekomo, a European scale-up, has successfully closed its Series A financing round with €8 million in growth capital. Invenio Partners and high-net-worth individuals led the investment. This accomplishment follows a strategic partnership with Siemens.

Nasekomo has ambitious plans to launch an extensive network of insect bioconversion facilities in Europe and beyond. The first of these franchised factories will start operations in Bulgaria in 2025. The company's main goal is to advance insect farming for sustainable protein production, and it is committed to achieving this target through its innovative approach.

Kisankonnect Has Secured Approximately $4M (Rs 31 crore) in Pre-Series A Funding

Kisankonnect, an Agritech startup, has recently raised approximately $4.14 million (Rs 31 crore) in pre-series A funding. Green Frontier Capital led the investment round, and other investors like Dhanuka Agritech Limited also participated in the funding. The startup plans to utilize the funds to promote climate-smart agriculture initiatives, enhance supply chain technology, and expand its farm stores. Through direct sourcing from farmers, Kisankonnect currently serves over 1 lakh customers in Mumbai and Pune. Additionally, the company supports rural women’s employment through its ‘Village Staples’ and ‘Mom’s Kitchen’ products.

Intelligent Growth Solutions Bags A £22.5M Series C

Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) has recently secured £22.5 million in Series C funding to aid its global expansion. The funding will be utilized to support IGS’s vertical farming technology deployment worldwide. Additionally, the company has announced a partnership with ReFarm to build a 900,000 square foot GigaFarm in the UAE. The GigaFarm aims to replace 1% of the UAE's food imports and recycle over 50,000 tonnes of food waste annually. To lead the company's next growth phase, Andrew Lloyd has been appointed as the new CEO, and Sonya Hotson as the CFO.

SeeTree Secures $17.5 Million in Series C Funding

SeeTree, an Israel-based company, has recently raised $17.5 million in Series C funding. The funding was led by HSBC Asset Management and EBRD, with contributions from new investors OurCrowd and SmartAgro, as well as existing investors. The primary goal of the funding is to expand the range of crops and extend operations in several regions, including Latin America, North America, Ukraine, and Asia-Pacific. SeeTree's platform utilizes advanced technologies like AI, drones, and ground sensors to digitize tree health monitoring. This innovative approach is a game-changer in the industry that provides better insights into the health of trees and ensures the optimal yield of crops.

farm-ng Raises $10 Million in Series A Funding to Revolutionize Agriculture with Robotics and AI

Farm-ng, a company focused on transforming sustainable agriculture, has successfully completed a $10 million Series A funding round. The funding, led by Acre Venture Partners and other investors, reflects confidence in farm-ng's potential to boost productivity and sustainability in small to mid-sized farms. The company's flagship product, Amiga, is a modular electric robot that has been deployed over 100 times for various farming tasks, performing them efficiently. In addition to Amiga, farm-ng also offers AI solutions that aim to enhance farming operations through inclusive sustainable practices and adaptable robotics and AI. The company's focus is on delivering quick ROI to farmers while promoting productive and resilient farming practices.

Partnerships

Deere & Company Collaborates with SpaceX for Advanced Satellite Communications in Agriculture

Deere & Company has announced its partnership with SpaceX to provide satellite communications (SATCOM) service to farmers. This collaboration aims to address the connectivity challenges faced by farmers in rural areas with the help of the Starlink network.

The primary objective of this industry-first partnership is to enhance precision agriculture and improve productivity, profitability, and sustainability in agricultural operations. The SATCOM service will connect both new and existing machinery, allowing a range of technologies to be employed for efficient farming.

The solution will first be available in the United States and Brazil and is expected to begin in the second half of 2024. By leveraging the Starlink network, farmers will be able to overcome communication barriers and access the necessary tools required for sustainable farming practices.

Barchart and AgVision Partnership: Enhancing Agribusiness Efficiency and Grower Engagement

Barchart and AgVision have announced a partnership that aims to strengthen the relationship between agribusiness and growers. As part of the partnership, AgVision's grain accounting software will be integrated into Barchart's Marketplace apps and online portals. This integration will enable real-time access to crucial producer data directly on mobile devices, enhancing decision-making, operational efficiency, and profitability for growers. Additionally, Barchart's cmdtyView platform will be linked for comprehensive market analysis and workflow management. Overall, this partnership will provide a powerful tool for growers to manage their operations and make informed decisions in the dynamic and competitive agriculture industry.

Plant Science

Syngenta and Enko’s Fungicide Discovery

Syngenta and Enko have collaborated to tackle the global challenge of reducing crop yields caused by fungal pathogens. Their joint efforts have resulted in the discovery of a novel chemistry for controlling fungal diseases in cereal crops. This innovative solution targets diseases in crops with a unique mode of action that has been identified through AI and machine learning from billions of molecules. This discovery showcases the potential of digital technologies in accelerating research and development. As part of their ongoing partnership, Syngenta and Enko are exploring new herbicide solutions to combat resistance and aggressive weeds, in order to develop sustainable crop protection solutions.

Vive Crop Protection Introduction of Phobos™ FC in the Market

Vive Crop Protection Inc. has recently launched a new foliar fungicide called Phobos™ FC, specifically designed to assist sugarbeet growers. This product utilizes advanced technology incorporating Vive’s Allosperse® Delivery Technology and prothioconazole, which offers enhanced protection against Cercospora leaf spot. Field trial results from 2023 have shown that Phobos FC is superior to the existing market standard, Proline® fungicide, in terms of disease protection and efficacy. The optimal time to use this fungicide is from the 8-leaf stage to pre-harvest. Vive Crop Protection is inviting all sugarbeet growers and agricultural enthusiasts to explore the benefits of Phobos FC for the upcoming 2024 growing season.

Pivot Bio PROVEN® 40 Enhances Silage Production and Profitability, Study Reveals

A study was conducted with over 30 dairy producers to investigate the impact of replacing synthetic nitrogen with Pivot Bio PROVEN® 40 on silage production. The results showed that using PROVEN 40 resulted in a 0.91 tonnage increase per acre, which is a 4.2% advantage over traditional methods. Additionally, the study recorded a 3.4% increase in milk production per acre. Pivot Bio PROVEN® 40 maintained quality while increasing production, ensuring consistent milk per ton. The product demonstrated consistent performance across various weather conditions and soil types. Overall, the study showed that using Pivot Bio PROVEN® 40 can have a positive impact on silage production and milk yield, while maintaining quality and consistency.

New Cereal Fungicide Portfolio Launch in Europe By ADAMA

ADAMA Ltd. has recently expanded its portfolio by introducing five new cereal fungicide products across Europe. These new products are based on a leading DMI molecule and incorporate ADAMA's novel Asorbital® Formulation Technology, which enhances disease control and product performance.

Designed to meet the specific needs of farmers, these products offer tailored solutions for different farming needs by addressing specific stages of the crop's reproductive phase and various disease challenges.

The launch of these new products aligns with the regulatory phase-out of other vital active ingredients, positioning ADAMA as a leading solution provider in the evolving market.

This launch is part of ADAMA's decade-long strategy to support European cereal growers amidst rising disease pressures and sustainability concerns. By offering innovative and targeted solutions, ADAMA hopes to support farmers in achieving successful crop yields while maintaining regulatory compliance.

BASF New Cotton Seed Varieties

BASF has recently expanded its cotton seed portfolio for the 2024 growing season by introducing four new varieties to its FiberMax® and Stoneville® line-up, bringing the total number of varieties to 18. These new varieties are equipped with innovative Axant™ Flex herbicide tolerance technology, a significant development in cotton's herbicide traits that offers high-yield potential, excellent fiber quality, and strong insect and weed control. Each variety, such as FM 765AX, FM 868AXTP, FM 823AXTP, and ST 6000AXTP, has been designed to cater to specific regional needs and challenges, with resistance to various pests and diseases. BASF's commitment to the cotton industry is further emphasized by their relentless efforts in trait development and offering effective crop management solutions to support growers.

AgroSpheres Achieves Organic Certification for Innovative Agricultural Solutions

AgroSpheres, Inc. has received OMRI certification for its AgroSpheres® Microbially-Derived Minicells and Thyme Oil 26% LC Biofungicide, making both products compliant with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). This certification marks a significant advancement in environmentally friendly agriculture. Furthermore, both products are currently pending review by the US EPA for use in pest, weed, and disease control. Excitingly, field trials have already demonstrated promising results in crop quality and overall plant health.

Rovensa Next’s Naturdai Mim

Rovensa Next's Naturdai Mim® is an innovative biofungicide that is specifically designed for use on avocado trees. It has been officially registered as a biological pesticide for agricultural use in Peru under registration number 264-SENASA-PBA-EV. This product has been strategically developed to target root rot in avocados, a significant crop in Peru, providing both preventive and curative effects.

What's more, Naturdai Mim® has received CAAE and OMRI certifications, ensuring its suitability for organic and integrated farming. With a systemic mode of action, this biofungicide effectively controls fungal attacks without leaving any synthetic residues or causing phytotoxicity when used as directed. In summary, Naturdai Mim® is an organic-certified and safe product that provides excellent efficacy in protecting avocado trees against root rot.

Investment

CropLife Europe Announces Major Investments

CropLife Europe has announced a significant financial commitment to sustainable agriculture initiatives, totaling €14 billion. Of this investment, €4 billion will be allocated to plant bioprotection, with the aim of enhancing farmers' ability to combat pests and diseases while minimizing environmental impact. The remaining €10 billion will be invested in digital agronomy, with the goal of modernizing farming practices and increasing efficiency and sustainability.

Furthermore, the initiative places emphasis on managing plastic waste from pesticide products, with the aim of increasing the recovery rate of packaging waste and developing systems for collecting plastic waste in the EU.

In addition to the investment, CropLife Europe plans to train one million farmers and consultants in good health practices and environmental protection. They will also promote Closed Transfer Systems (CTS) technology to minimize chemical exposure. Overall, the initiative is focused on promoting sustainable agricultural practices that benefit both farmers and the environment.

CNH €150M Investment in Harvesting Center of Excellence

CNH Industrial has announced a significant investment of €150 million in its New Holland Harvesting Center of Excellence in Zedelgem, Belgium, as part of a five-year plan. This investment will focus on developing the new CR11 combine harvester and will incorporate advancements in manufacturing and logistics. The project will also include a redesigned assembly line, a merged production line for various combine harvester models, and the introduction of an automated guiding system for increased flexibility.

This initiative has received support from the Flemish Government's Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship Agency, which recognizes its significance in fostering innovation and employment in the region. CNH's investment reinforces its position as a leader in the agricultural equipment industry, with a strong commitment to future technologies, high-tech manufacturing, and innovative solutions for global agriculture.

Supply Chain

ADM Launches First Fully Traceable Soybean Shipments from U.S. to Europe

ADM has successfully shipped its first batch of soybeans from the United States to Europe, which have been fully traced and verified. This achievement is in line with the upcoming deforestation regulations of the European Union, and the company plans to extend the same capabilities across North America during the 2024 growing season. The initiative is part of ADM's larger commitment to achieve 100% deforestation-free supply chains by the year 2025.

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