Author: Chris McCullough

Chris McCullough is a freelance multi-media journalist based in Northern Ireland and specialises in all aspects of agriculture. He has spent the past 18 years travelling the globe hunting for the best stories in food, farming and politics. He has reported extensively from overseas, mostly throughout Europe but also from USA, Canada, India, Australia and African countries on various topics. He has won a number of awards for his photos and journalism and is always on the lookout for his next exclusive.

Norwegian company N2 Applied has raised a further £7 million (NOK83 million) to speed up commercial availability of its technology which converts livestock manure into sustainable fertiliser whilst trapping greenhouse gases. With the dairy industry under pressure to reduce its methane emissions, and under close global scrutiny, a huge drive is under way to develop technology that can assist with this. Investors participating in the latest round, which was led by N2 Applied CEO Carl Hansson and follows a similar level of investment late last year, include Blue River Invest, Holta Invest, Joh.Johansen/NorgesGruppen and Ramussengruppen, in addition to some new…

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A Belfast-based company (Northern Ireland) developing automated livestock monitoring technology has announced the closure of its US$2.5m seed investment round. CattleEye has closed the investment round from a syndicate led by Techstart Ventures and including Paris-based venture capital firm Seventure Partners and Turntide Technologies, a Silicon Valley venture backed by Amazon. The investment will be used to bring to market CattleEye’s autonomous livestock welfare and performance monitoring product, which can increase animal welfare levels and reduce carbon emission intensity by around 0.5 tonne per cow, per year. The first version of the product detects locomotion deviations, which are highly correlated…

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Funding from the Scottish government has been made available for the first vertical farm to be built on a Scottish education facility. Costing £500,000 to construct, the new farm will be built at SRUC’s King’s Buildings campus in Edinburgh next year to carry out research and education. The project, which has received a £200,000 grant from the Scottish Government, will be used in key research into plant and crop science and will also be used by students. The facility will grow nutrient-dense fruit and vegetables that have specific human health qualities. It will also analyse crop yield and growth rates with…

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A former dairy farmer who has first hand experience of losing his herd to disease has taken up a new challenge to develop the Actiphage blood test for bovine TB and Johne’s Disease. Jonnie Yewdall has been appointed commercial director at PBD Biotech which recently gained funding to take its Actiphage blood test for bovine TB (bTB) and Johne’s Disease through the validation required for international industry acceptance. PBD Biotech Limited specialises in the use of novel bacteriophage-based technology in the field of veterinary diagnostics. The company has developed proprietary technology that can be used to detect the presence of…

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With global agriculture focused on reducing the use of herbicides, US machinery company AGCO has joined forces with other specialists to create new targeted sprayer technology. Using targeted sprayer technology can ultimately reduce the use of herbicides as it only applies the chemicals where necessary, rather than the traditional blanket treatments. AGCO has entered into a proof of concept (PoC) collaboration agreement with Robert Bosch GmbH, BASF Digital Farming GmbH and Raven Industries Inc. (NASDAQ:RAVN). Their collective goal is to make the application of crop protection products more effective and efficient by reducing crop input costs while driving farm and…

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German agricultural machinery manufacturer Claas has invested in a Dutch robotic start-up company to step into the autonomous tractor market. The company has entered into a cooperative venture with AgXeed BV and acquired a minority shareholding in its international funding round as a mark of their commitment. Claas recognises the farming industry must further increase productivity in the decades ahead to meet the needs of a growing global population. However, with the number of people employed in the industry continuing to decline, and skilled labour increasingly difficult to find, robotic machines can help alleviate this in the future. The agricultural machinery industry…

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A US company that develops unique weed robots that zap their prey with lasers has just unveiled its third generation models. Based in Seattle, Carbon Robotics manufactures its Autonomous Weeder which uses a combination of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and laser technology to safely and effectively drive through crop fields to identify, target and eliminate weeds. Unlike other weeding technologies, the robots utilise high-power lasers to eradicate weeds through thermal energy, without disturbing the soil. As per normal, by operating automated robots farmers can reduce their herbicides use, reduce labour and costs while improving crop yields. Carbon Robotics CEO and Founder,…

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A US company on a mission to create cell-cultured sustainable seafood without the shells has received $1.6 million of funding to start off by growing lobsters in the lab. Based in Wisconsin, Cultured Decadence has announced the close of its $1.6 million pre-seed financing to create the first cell-cultured lobster meat in North America. The financing follows important technical progress in the development of novel lobster cell lines and the reduction of cell-culture media costs. The company will use the funds to expand its team and continue development of cell-cultured lobster meat prototypes in preparation for a commercial launch. John…

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Picking tomatoes can be costly and laborious especially when labour is in short supply but robotic help is now available. Japanese company inaho Inc has set up a subsidiary company inaho Europe BV with a base in the Netherlands, and has developed a new robot for harvesting snack tomatoes. The company’s goal is to devise robotic solutions to help boost agriculture production, it has previously launched an AI-equipped asparagus harvesting robot back in 2019. The European arm of the company officially started operations on April 1, 2021 and it has launched the tomato robotic harvester as its first product. The European…

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Growing crops that offset carbon emissions is all the rage these days and a US company says it is close to producing an oil seed rape that does exactly that. Based in St Louis in Missouri, CoverCress Inc has announced it has raised another $8 million to fund its final stage of crop development and scale up for its first commercial planting for the fall of 2022. That is good news for the midwestern farmers who are now one step closer to the prospect of growing a new cover crop that will generate a cash margin while supporting regenerative agriculture.…

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