FarmLife FIVE: Ag Innovations

Ag startups that could radically change farming.

By Jenny Bryant

Cloud Nine: Climate Corp is the de facto poster child for ag startups gone HUGE. Just six years after it was founded, the San Francisco-based firm sold to Monsanto for $1.1 billion. The company’s proprietary Climate Technology Platform™ combines hyper-local weather monitoring, agronomic modeling and high-resolution weather simulations to help farmers make operating decisions.

See https://www.climate.com/

See http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/02/monsanto-acquires-weather-big-data-company-climate-corporation-for-930m/

Biomass-ter: New Energy Farms has developed an artificial seed system, called CEEDS, to assist farmers with the establishment, management and trade of large-scale plantations of energy crops. The company also offers the software system Biomass Direct, which assists farmers in providing the sustainability reporting required by many end users of their biomass crops.

CEEDSTM are primed plant tissue, encapsulated in a growing medium that can contain growth promoters and crop protection products. They can be planted using conventional equipment or by using equipment developed by New Energy Farms to automate planting, even into minimum-till and no-till seedbeds.

http://www.newenergyfarms.com/

http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/11468/grass-to-gas

Lettuce Bots: Pulled by a tractor, the Lettuce Bot identifies and kills weeds, and selectively thins out lettuce rows. The bot uses a proprietary photo-based system to sort out weeds and which lettuce plants are growing too close. Developed by California-based Blue River Technology, the machine uses precisely applied fertilizer to kill unwanted plants and nourish the keepers.

See http://www.bluerivert.com/

Waste Not: Vancouver-based Enterra Feed Corporation feeds food waste from farms, greenhouses and grocery stores to the larvae of the black soldier fly. When they’re at their highest in fat and protein, the larvae are dried and converted into protein meal for use as feed and soil conditioner. Give them 100 tons of food waste and you’ll get 65 tons of feed and fertilizer.

See http://www.enterrafeed.com/about/

Cows in the Cloud: Data without analysis is like a seed without soil, which is why a plethora of companies are helping farmers manage and interpret data in real time and long term. One such company, Farmeron, helps dairies track and improve the production value of their cows by crunching feeding and milking data, and offering precision feeding solutions to turn “cow flow into cash flow.”

See https://www.farmeron.com/