SA agri-tech startup Aerobotics unveils new yield management platform for growers

SOUTH AFRICA – South African agri-tech startup Aerobotics has released a new yield management platform, offering growers tools to measure, manage, track and protect their yields.

Founded in Cape Town in 2014, Aerobotics uses aerial imagery from drones and satellites, and blends them with machine learning algorithms to provide early problem detection services to tree and wine farmers and optimise crop performance.

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The startup’s cloud-based application Aeroview provides farmers with insights, scout mapping and other tools to mitigate damage to tree and vine crops from pest and disease.

Over the past seven years, Aerobotics – which raised Series B funding in 2020 – has collected perennial crop imagery from more than one million acres with over 200 growers to identify over 195 million plants.

Now, as an important evolution of its tools for managing nutrition and irrigation, Aerobotics has launched a platform for measuring and tracking yields, reports Disrupt.

Its mobile app allows growers to capture yield information on the ground, helping to inform recommendations and important management decisions to achieve target yields.

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The latest yield product uses tree, vine, or bush performance metrics to set up representative sampling locations on the new yield management platform.

In the field, growers and their teams are guided to each geo-referenced tree, vine, or bush using the app where yield counts and sizes are recorded digitally, before being extrapolated into variety and block-level reports on the platform.

With the latest fruit measurement and tracking tool, teams on the ground spend up to 75 per cent less time collecting 10 times more yield data by being efficiently guided to the most representative locations and leveraging the computer vision-enabled mobile application.

Customers are already uploading thousands of images a week and usage has increased 15x over the last two months.

“One of our founding principles at Aerobotics is ‘farmers first’ and we’re very excited by the interest customers are showing in our approach to managing yield. As more and more growers look to agricultural technology to solve labor and input efficiency challenges, we’re helping our customers do more with less by understanding the impact of their limiting factors.

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“By enabling control of production drivers like irrigation distribution uniformity and nutritional programs, we’re helping growers make data-driven decisions and achieve their target yields,” said James Paterson, CEO and co-founder at Aerobotics.

UM6P Ventures Invests in Climate Crop

In other related news, Morocco’s UM6P Ventures, a venture capital firm affiliated with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, has invested in Climate Crop, an Israeli startup specialized in innovative technology in plant genomics.

Given rising concerns surrounding global warming and the current climate crisis, the goal of this investment is to boost agricultural productivity and resilience in Africa and globally.

It aims to do so through funding the maturation and specific application of the gene-editing technology to potatoes and tomatoes.

Aside from the financing, the firm will get Venture Builder assistance, which will allow it to access the scientific expertise and the research and development facilities of the Mohamed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) ecosystem and its agro-bioscience partners.

“The extensive scientific support system available from UM6P Ventures, coupled with capital investment, will help Climate Crop maintain its foot hold in the gene editing food market and positively impact crop production and the world’s food supply,” said Yehuda Borenstein, CEO & founder of Climate Crop.

In addition, Climate Crop will have organic access to the wide ecosystem and partner Agtech platforms in Morocco and throughout the world.

Climate Crop and UM6P Ventures will further collaborate to develop their footprint in the US market, beginning with a US subsidiary in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.

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