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January 25, 2023

Updates from the WGCIT

The Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology was created to link Western Growers members with innovators in the agtech space. Below are news updates from the Center’s startups:

AgNote

Now AgNote can intelligently estimate your crop harvest dates! One of the newest additions in AgNote’s farm management software is Harvest Date Estimation. It takes only a single click to turn the Harvest Date Estimation on for each crop. Users can choose for which row or vegetable crops they wish to see the Estimated Harvest Date. Once the Harvest Date estimation is turned on, the estimated harvest date will show up in crop management areas and many reports, which are available in AgNote—and there is even a dedicated report for Estimated Harvest Dates. AgNote allows users to schedule reports to be emailed out on a user’s selected schedule. Estimated Harvest Date report, once scheduled, will be emailed out only if there are any upcoming harvests in the next 30 days. You can learn more about AgNote’s features on agnote.com.

 

Agrology

With the impact of climate change accelerating, farmers require new technologies to maintain yields and implement regenerative practices. That’s why Agrology and Active Impact Investments recently announced an investment partnership to drive the market growth of Agrology’s Regenerative and Predictive Agriculture Platform. Active Impact Investments invested in Agrology’s SEED round to scale the startup’s climate technology solutions for growers. “26 percent of global emissions come from food production, and the agriculture sector is concurrently one of the most acutely impacted by climate change. Agrology has the dual benefit of helping farmers adapt to a changing climate, to remediate soil degradation through regenerative agriculture while also increasing margins and profit,” said Mike Winterfield, Founder and Managing Partner of Active Impact Investments. In addition to Active Impact, Skyview Ventures and Phoenix Venture Partners joined the round, along with additional syndicate participants.

 

Agtools

Agtools has entered the SAP, SAP.iO y Endeavor Accelerator, providing unparalleled access, curated mentorship and technical guidance to integrate the product, and go-to-market with SAP’s 400,000+ customers. In addition, Agtools won the Radicle Inclusion Challenge presented by Nutrien, out of 130 participants in 40 countries during the World Food Prize in Des Moines. Nutrien is the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services to the agriculture industry. Agtools was selected as winner of the Supply Chain Innovation Summit Award sponsored by Accenture held in Chicago on October 4-5, 2022 for assisting the financial supply chain from farm to fork to improve their financial positions while simultaneously reducing food waste and accountability for ESG performance.

 

Bluewhite

New WGCIT member Bluewhite drives the growth of resilient farms through pioneering technology and a friendly user experience. The Bluewhite mission is to build resilient farms by maximizing the grower’s productivity and reducing their operational cost. It equips existing fleets with autonomous technology, an easy-to-use platform, and end-to-end service, supporting their journey to a more profitable and sustainable farm. Since 2017, Bluewhite has partnered with growers worldwide to support their continual progress in growing farm profitability, productivity and safety. Bluewhite’s diverse team of engineers, farmers, technicians and field operators hold decades of experience in autonomous technologies and share the same values: fellowship, love of the land and innovation.

 

CalCom Energy

CalCom Energy is a 100 percent employee-owned, full-service energy solutions provider based in California’s Central Valley. Our team has led the deployment of over 150+ MW of solar generation and energy storage capacity across the food system value chain. Through our core offerings and service-oriented partnerships, CalCom Energy is committed to helping our customers increase efficiencies, meet climate targets and continuously improve operations.

 

Carbon Robotics

Carbon Robotics, a leader in AI-powered robotics, empowers farmers to operate more efficiently by building innovative agriculture tools. The company’s revolutionary, high-precision laser-weeding technology leverages sophisticated AI deep learning technology, computer vision, robotics and lasers to reduce weed control costs by 80 percent and improve crop yield and quality. In February 2022, Carbon Robotics launched the LaserWeeder, a pull-behind robot that seamlessly attaches to the back of tractors and utilizes Carbon Robotics’ laser-weeding technology to identify weeds and target them for elimination. To learn more about Carbon Robots, please see the feature in this issue of Western Grower & Shipper magazine.

 

Dexer

Dexer delivers data at the speed of voice. The voice-activated and highly customizable data collection app does not require internet service while it delivers timely and structured data—the kind that machines and sensors just can’t record. Focused on improving the ease and speed of remote and repetitive data collection, the app was built to enhance accuracy at the point of entry and has proven useful for everyone from researchers and crop scouts to food safety professionals and insurance agents. Dexer streamlines data collection by inputting the information directly into customized forms while providing immediate voice playback that enables real-time error handling and enables 100 percent accuracy. Eliminating duplication of entry, increasing speed for decision making and adding consistency in how the data is shared are a few key highlights of the solution. Dexer provides clean, structured data that is ready for import by the customer into their existing systems. Unlike voice-to-text applications currently found on devices, Dexer creates data entry requirements, along with built-in knowledge of specific industry terms, to help customers consistency collect and interpret data.

 

FarmWise

For vegetable growers who face increased growing costs and new regulatory pressures, FarmWise builds innovative systems to streamline farm operations and increase food production efficiency. FarmWise’s first product, the Titan, is an automated mechanical weeder powered by AI and robotics. The machine detects vegetable crops from weeds and uproots weeds, moving blades with sub-inch accuracy. FarmWise has collected over 500 million plant images, from lettuce to broccoli. The company has been running a commercial automated weeding service for the past three seasons in Salinas Valley and the desert. Leveraging thousands of hours of learnings out in the field and precious feedback gathered from the most prominent growers in the U.S., FarmWise is gearing up to release its next-generation weeder early next year. The product will be launched at the World Ag Expo in February.

 

Inteligistics

Inteligistics brings end-to-end solutions to monitor and improve efficiency for logistics, supply chain and cold chain management for companies producing and selling perishable products. InteliView is the digital information hub that takes data from a variety of sources, such as IoT devices, third-party sensors, API integrations and user input to be analyzed and presented on a cloud-based platform. Customers can monitor KPIs, highlight and remedy anomalies and analyze shelf life and ROI. For example, in a recent project of over 2,000 loads of avocados, InteliView algorithms were able to accurately predict quality and shelf-life based on time and temperature during transit. Geofences were created to trigger arrival and departure of pallets, track holding times, and inform stakeholders about the load location and status in the supply chain, leading to significant cost savings, operational improvements and more product sales. For more information on Inteligistics and its InteliView platform, visit inteligistics.com.

 

LahakX

LahakX received a write-up in Agri Business review, which can be read in its entirety here: https://precision-farming.agribusinessreview.com/vendor/lahakx-autonomous-agricultural-spraying-with-swarms-of-drones-cid-42-mid-12.html

An excerpt is below: A new paradigm shift is taking root in the agricultural sector of Monterey County, California. The once predominant manual and aircraft-based agricultural spraying methods are making way for more effective, drone-based, autonomous spraying.

Until now, growers needed to do manual spraying, but this method took a lot of time and management attention. For commodity crops, fixed-speed aircraft was a go-to for growers, owing to their ability to cover larger areas faster. But aircraft flying back and forth 10 feet above the ground leads to significant fuel and chemical waste. Growers wanted a spraying approach that would combine the speed of aircraft-based spraying and the accuracy and low-cost of manual spraying.

LahakX, an agri-robotics technology company, delivers exactly this with its autonomous spraying drone technology designed for quick, precise and variable spraying.

 

PickTrace

PickTrace, winner of the 2022 AgTech Breakthrough award for Labor Management Solution, is the only all-in-one labor management suite for agriculture. With PickTrace Onboarding, users can rapidly hire/rehire employees, generate and digitally store their I-9 and W-4 documents and bulk import employees’ data from PickTrace into their payroll system. Time and productivity is effortlessly tracked in real-time, enabling you and your team to feel confident in your payroll compliance. PickTrace recently increased its presence in Salinas, Calif. and Yuma, Ariz., focusing on delivering an exceptional customer experience, optimized field processes and operationalized data.

 

Probelte

The opening of Probelte’s new American subsidiary broadens the company’s future, bringing biotechnological solutions based on selected microorganisms and their application in crop management to the U.S. With more than 50 years in the sector and 20 years developing microorganisms-based solutions, Probelte’s commitment to this movement goes through digitalization, a new milestone in developing specific techniques that help farmers.

In 2020, after a change in the company’s strategy and vision, Probelte turned all its attention to the U.S. to offer its comprehensive solutions to American farmers and growers. Since 2021, the company has been working closely with American experts, developing efficacy studies for various high-value crops: berries, avocados, leafy vegetables, almonds, grapes and citrus.

With the opening of the new subsidiary, Probelte launches one of the most strategic projects in its history. In tandem with North Carolina State University, the company is developing a project to build predictive modeling for Botrytis forecasting and personalized application of biotechnological treatments on crops. As in other countries, Probelte will remain by the side of agricultural producers, attending to their needs and involving them in developing more sustainable and specifically adapted comprehensive solutions.

 

Verdant Robotics

Verdant Robotics announced the close of a $46.5 million Series A funding to scale its advanced robotic technology and accelerate broad adoption of its regenerative and precision ag solutions. Lead investor Cleveland Avenue was joined by DCVC Bio, Future Ventures, SeaX Ventures and all existing investors, including Autotech Ventures, Cavallo Ventures and AgFunder, making the series one of the largest investments in ag robotics to date. “Increasingly, consumers are demanding food that meets the trifecta of good for me, for my community and for the planet,” said Don Thompson, Founder and CEO of Cleveland Avenue, LLC. “Verdant offers next-level precision that growers—and our global food supply—need to meet these demands, not only in the next 20 years but in the next five.” From its inception, Verdant’s mission has been to work side-by-side with farmers to solve their biggest future challenge—a shortage of farm labor—all while ensuring its robotic solution enables more growers to access regenerative and precision practices supporting soil health, water conservation, carbon sequestration and nutrient-dense crops.