Author: Matt Peskett

Matt has worked in digital publishing for twenty years, holding management positions at Nature (nature.com) and William Reed Business Media (foodmanufacture.co.uk etc.). He has also worked with BBC Worldwide, Centaur Media, UKi Media and Mark Allen Group. Since 2010 Matt has been a digital consultant working with B2B media companies in the agricultural, automotive, aviation, robotics and technology sectors. As Chairman of his local allotment association Matt grows his own food whilst chasing the dream of a one tonne giant pumpkin. He is a member of the British Garden Media Guild and was a finalist in the Garden Media Guild Awards 'blog of the year' category in 2018 and 2019.

Bayer’s Grants4Ag program is a global initiative offering financial and scientific support for sustainable solutions to some of crop science’s biggest challenges. Since 2015 over 100 grants have been awarded to those developing novel solutions to research and development challenges in agriculture. As of today the application window is open for 2021/22 with winning projects expected to focus on advancing a more sustainable food system. In addition to receiving a grant (typically ranging from €5,000 to €15,000), successful applicants will partner up with a Bayer scientist who will provide guidance and feedback on the project. Previous grant recipients highlight this professional…

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LeddarTech and Cognata, Ltd. have announced the integration of Cognata’s autonomous driving simulation software with LeddarTech’s sensor fusion and perception technology – ‘LeddarVision’. The companies state that their joint venture will accelerate the testing and validation of self-driving agriculture vehicles. Autonomous harvesting systems are seeing huge demand from farm owners around the world with Russia’s use of the technology already leading the way. The joint offering of a highly realistic simulation and testing platform for autonomous vehicle (AV) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) combines the market’s leading autonomous vehicle perception training and sensor fusion along with simulation software on…

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The company pioneering the development of living plant sensors – InnerPlant – has announced its successful US$5.65 million seed + pre-seed funding. In 2020 the company introduced its first product, the InnerTomato™ and is currently developing additional crops including InnerSoy™. The investment opens the way to developing new products using data directly from plants for crop risk management and food supply chains. InnerPlant taps into plants’ natural defences to delivers this unprecedented flow of information. Plants have evolved sophisticated defence mechanisms to protect themselves from environmental stresses. InnerPlant piggybacks on these signals by adding a safe protein, long studied for…

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Swiss agtech start-up ecoRobotix has raised US$14.7 million in its latest Series C funding round. The company harnesses cutting edge AI technology to drive the transition towards more sustainable, eco-friendly and economic farming. With the proceeds of this funding round, ecoRobotix will accelerate the high-volume series production of its tractor mounted ARA plant protection spraying machine and drive its European expansion forward. The funding was led by Swisscom Ventures together with Verve Ventures and was strongly supported by existing ecoRobotix investors, including CapAgro, 4FO Ventures and BASF Venture Capital. Herbicide reducing technology ecoRobotix deploys cameras and advanced machine learning algorithms…

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Chinese drone specialist XAG is well known as the world’s largest manufacturer of flying agricultural drones, now their autonomous ground vehicle – the XAG R150 – has gone on sale in Japan. This follows the debut demonstration of the R150 as an unmanned pollinator in Japan’s Nagano prefecture earlier this year. The XAG R150 features an on-board JetSprayer system which can be used to pollinate fruit trees. A specially mixed solution of pollen is poured into the R150’s liquid tank before it is sent on a predetermined route around an orchard to autonomously spray pollen on to each tree’s blossoms. An…

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UK-based start-up Antobot has secured £1.2 million in its seed funding round following a strategic investment from Intron Technology Holdings Ltd – a leading Chinese automotive electronics solutions provider. The funding will enable Antobot to develop various full applications starting with its scouting robot, ‘Insight’. Focusing initially on the £875 million UK fruit sector, Antobot’s ‘Insight’ robot travels autonomously through a farm and, using AI, gathers accurate, timely and rich data for deeper insight into crop yield, profile, and pest / disease management. Insight is powered using Antobot’s fully integrated automotive-grade universal Robot Control Unit (uRCU®) – what the team…

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Describing itself as ‘Australia’s first and only specialist agrifood tech VC firm’, Tenacious Ventures Management Pty Ltd supports early stage start-ups with tech-enabled new business models focused on agricultural transition to a carbon neutral and climate change resilient future. Now Tenacious Ventures has closed its first venture capital fund, oversubscribed, at AUD$35M. Tenacious Ventures Fund I achieved its first close in March 2020 at just over AUD$20M, backed by cornerstone $8M commitments from the Australian Government Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Mike & Annie Cannon-Brookes’ personal investment fund, Grok Ventures. Over the past year, Tenacious has made six investments…

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Robotics & AI company – XAG – is one of the world’s leading agri-drone manufacturers – their flying machines can sow seeds, spray crops, and spread fertilisers. Since 2020 the Chinese technology firm has been developing closer ties with Ukrainian farmers in an effort to tap into what it considers a fast growing commercial opportunity. With very limited drone regulations and new land ownership reforms pending, XAG believes a new generation of tech savvy small-holders will embrace its drone technology in Ukraine. In 2020 XAG began collaborating with Ukraine’s DroneUA to distribute its agricultural drones and robots. Last month (April…

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US-based AI and robotics company – TerraClear is focused on nuisance farmland rocks… and solutions for clearing them. Rocks in fields break expensive machinery and, as the race towards autonomous agricultural technology gathers pace, provide automated mapping and obstacle headaches. Even today TerraClear estimate that medium to large farms incur between US$5,000 and US$150,000 worth of annual damage and cost due to farmland rocks. Spread out over hundreds of millions of acres across the globe, TerraClear sees agricultural rock clearance as a huge unaddressed commercial opportunity. This week the company announced Series A funding of US$25 million led by Madrona…

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Finnish vertical farming company iFarm has farms operating and under construction in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and CIS, with a total planting area of more than 30,000 square metres. Now in a partnership with Al Sadarah Group, a commercial-scale indoor farm will grow leafy greens, strawberries and edible flowers in Qatar. The partnership will help Qatar reduce its heavy reliance on food imports and bring the country closer to achieving the goal of achieving 70% self-sufficiency in food production by 2023, as outlined in Qatar’s National Food Security Strategy. The first phase of the Al Sadarah / iFarm partnership…

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