Portable nutrient sensor wins €10,000 prize

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Priva, a Dutch-based global developer of high-tech solutions for climate control and process automation used in indoor farming, has named Danish biochemical analytics startup Nordetect’s portable nutrient sensor as the winner of its ‘Horti Heroes’ challenge. Led by Priva’s Horticulture Innovation Lab (‘Phil’), the competition is designed to discover and help showcase pioneering technologies in the horticulture space by awarding a cash prize, and providing the winner with the potential opportunity to form a strategic partnership with Priva.

Focused on sustainability, Nordetect concentrates on developing technologies which support the optimization of external inputs to both reduce waste and improve business outcomes in agriculture. To this end, the Copenhagen-based company has created a portable device that uses Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) to measure nutrients in soil, water, or plant tissue within minutes. A GPS feature helps farmers track the locations of each sample, providing an overview of where the land might be more or less fertile. Armed with the information this product provides, a greenhouse grower can ensure appropriate amounts of these expensive fertilizers are being taken up by the plant to maximize quality and yield, substantially reducing wastage.

Of course the prize money is great, but what is of even more value is the potential for a strategic partnership with Priva, who is the market leader in the high-value crop space — our target market,” commented Nordetect’s CEO, Keenan Pinto. “Lately Priva has been making waves in the medicinal crop industry. These are crops that have a nutrient requirement change between their vegetative and generative phases… and if you can get the fertilization correct, you can also achieve a significantly higher flower rate and yield. So we see this potential partnership as not only a win for us, but also for Priva and its clientele.”

There was some stiff competition, but Nordetect’s technology is a real game-changer,” added Alastair Monk, Priva’s VP digital services – horticulture, who heads the Phil group. “Greenhouse growing is all about precision, and having accurate metrics at your fingertips when they are needed is crucial for success. Nordetect achieves in minutes what greenhouses today wait weeks for by relying on lab testing. In the end, the decision was obvious, and we couldn’t be happier to be working with Nordetect.”

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