Searching the globe for the most intriguing and ambitious ag technologies, a team from the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit has selected 15 ag tech start-ups it believes has the potential to disrupt agriculture as we know it. These innovations, which cover everything from smart robotics and biotech to solar research and precise supply chain tracking, will be featured at the summit being held March 17 and 18 in San Francisco, California.
The 15 start-ups include:
Agragene (USA). This start-up commercializes eco-friendly products using CRISPR-based genome engineering. It has developed technology for hybrid seed production platforms and to target crop pests. Agragene has created Knock-Out sterile male spotted wing drosophila, which will eliminate nonorganic pesticide use in berries and stone fruits. This product will reduce pesticide residues in multiple food crops and is cheaper for growers, nontoxic to farm workers and consumers, and completely safe for beneficial organisms.
AgNext Technologies (India). This company provides instant quality assessment and process monitoring technologies for agribusinesses and government institutions to curb the problem of food quality, safety, and traceability. Its goal is to save food value chains from contamination and enable data-driven business decisions for growing, procuring, storing, and consuming food. Qualix, AgNext’s data platform, gathers both physical and chemical data to provide quality analysis on the whole crop value chain for organizations.
Agrynex (USA). A Cornell University start-up, Agrynex has developed patented enzyme-based crop protection products that deploy a naturally-occurring antimicrobial system to protect crops where and when it counts. This broad-spectrum solution is effective against bacterial and fungal pathogens, eliminating the threat with no or fewer conventional agrichemicals. Its products are currently vegetable seed treatments. Row-crop seed treatment and foliar applications are in development.
AgTrace (Brazil). This start-up has developed a traceability system that ensures transparency and information reliability and reduces response time to issues within the food value chain. It focuses on food safety solutions, ensuring consumers get the information they are looking for. AgTrace uses onboard computers installed in combines, planters, and trucks to trace information inside and outside the farm. Postharvest, storage, transportation, shipping, and delivery are traced through every step.
Arugga AI Farming (Israel). This company is developing an autonomous ground robot, which will treat and monitor individual plants in greenhouses. Arugga AI Farming is launching its first module – mechanical pollination – to address tomatoes grown in greenhouses. The robotic platform will eventually encompass a number of other solutions like pruning, pest and disease detection (including treatment), and yield prediction. The start-up recently completed the design of its first prototype and will soon test it in commercial settings in Australia.
Augmenta (Greece). Created by two farmers, this start-up has built a device that retrofits to tractors, sprayers, or spreaders and automates major agricultural operations (e.g., nitrogen fertilization) using real-time, multispectral computer vision and AI. The company’s mission is to maximize the efficiency of every inch of every acre using the minimum required resources and protect the environment along the way.
Dot Farm Solutions (Canada). This company has developed a fully autonomous, diesel-powered platform designed to support a wide variety of implements to carry out a growing list of farming operations. Its U-shape frame easily integrates with any implement built to be Dot-ready by loading the unit on to its chassis to become one with the platform.
Farmbot (Australia). This company monitors and reports on farm water ecosystems delivering near real-time reporting on water trends, consumption, and alerts. Because water is the lifeblood of agriculture, a detailed understanding of its use helps farmers make better management decisions around asset utilization, resource allocations, and carrying capacities.
G2V Optics (Canada). An emerging leader in smart lighting, monitoring, and data science solutions for advanced cultivation and solar research applications, G2V is committed to supporting controlled environment producers of fruit, spice, and medicinal crops to grow more using less. The start-up maximizes output, chemistry, and efficiency with its proprietary Engineered Sunlight platform.
MoA Technology (UK). This company’s ambition is to discover the next generation of herbicides, with new modes of action, from both natural and synthetic sources. It has developed three proprietary herbicide discovery platforms including the MoA GALAXY, MoA TARGET, and MoA SELECT. While each is powerful in its own right, when used in combination, they offer the opportunity to revolutionize the herbicide discovery process.
ONO Exponential Farming (Italy). This start-up has developed the first “Seed-to-Pack” vertical farming platform, which is a patented lean technology for hydroponic cultivation. Crops, insects, and algae move automatically inside the ONO module according to the growing requirements managed by ONO AI engine, which changes the current vertical farming paradigm from product to process.
Phylagen (USA). This start-up leverages microbes of indoor and outdoor environments for supply chain traceability. Among other applications, the company has used the technology to trace ships back to ports, shoes back to factories, coffee and wool back to the farm. Phylagen helps companies unlock a new layer of transparency, allowing them to maintain strong brands, loyal customers, and efficient supply chains.
Phytoform Labs (UK). This company is using next-generation data science to discover new traits and implementing them using genome editing. It is doing this to solve problems now and, in the future, making agriculture more sustainable and improving the nutrition of crops for consumers. Its vision is a design-led approach to develop new crops that is built to the specifications of the user and consumer.
Stable (UK). This start-up protects food and farming businesses from the risk of volatile commodity prices. With over 3,000 indexes available on its global platform, clients can create a price insurance policy that closely corresponds to their physical risk exposure, in their local currency. Built by farmers, powered by AI, the policy is backed by Lloyd’s of London.
Varigen Biosciences (USA). This company is redefining how small-molecule natural products are identified and optimized. Rather than screening the metabolic output of cultured bacteria, Varigen biosynthesizes novel secondary metabolites in engineered cell factories following the synthetic plan encoded in DNA isolated from a selected environment or microbe. The company accesses all of nature’s chemical diversity in pursuit of novel bioactive leads to produce drugs, agrichemicals, biopesticides, or value-added chemicals.
The full program, including the speaker lineup and information on registration, can be found at worldagritechusa.com. Register by the end of January to receive the early bird offer, along with special rates for start-ups, growers, academics, NGOs, and government.