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Châtenay-Malabry (FR - 92290), February 28, 2022
EFITA newsletter / 1028 - European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment
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Embouteillage de robots livreurs de repas sur un campus américain / Traffic jam of automated food delivery robots on American campus
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Désherbage manuel du lin, Vlaswieden in Vlaanderen, de Émile Claus
UK tech partnership to launch world-first service letting farmers see through clouds
A world-first service that could revolutionise the way satellite imagery is used in precision agriculture has today been announced by UK technology companies Origin Digital and Aspia Space.
The new ‘ClearSky’ service, launching imminently in the UK, feeds radar data into a deep neural network to derive the view of a field that a satellite would see if there were no clouds blocking its camera.
This innovation means that farmers using ClearSky are guaranteed to receive an image every 6 days showing them how their crop is developing, whatever the weather. This is in contrast to traditional, weather-dependent imagery which can often have gaps of several weeks between cloud-free views.
Madhumita Mund Rao, Head of Data at Origin Digital, said: “This is a hugely exciting development, because it adds the ingredient of dependable regularity that’s missing in traditional imagery services. This reliability will give UK farmers a substantial new advantage in sustainably optimising their yield and input use.”
“At any given time an average of 67% of the Earth is covered by clouds, so precision agriculture systems that rely on getting clear satellite imagery at the right time have historically struggled to deliver on their high potential value. ClearSky eliminates that struggle by guaranteeing the consistent regularity these systems need to deliver results, enabling farmers to fully optimise their fertiliser use for example and helping both their wallets and the planet,” she continued.
Analysis by Origin Digital shows that the widely used European Space Agency ‘Sentinel 2’ satellites produced 13 clear images per UK farm on average in 2021. In contrast, the ClearSky technology developed by Aspia Space uses revolutionary techniques to produce more than 60 cloud-free images per year, which can be used alongside the clear images captured by Sentinel 2 and other providers.
Aspia Space co-founder Professor Jim Geach said: “Aspia’s technology unlocks Earth observation imaging data and intelligence that would have otherwise been lost. ClearSky uses radar inputs, which penetrate cloud but are challenging to interpret, to derive imagery across the visible and short wave infrared spectrum. This means that even in the presence of 100% cloud cover, we can deliver regular, reliable, and consistent cloud-free images that are easily understood and can be analyzed in exactly the same way as regular optical imagery.”
“ClearSky was developed using the idea that the way radio and microwaves behave when they hit surface features - such as crops - is correlated, albeit in a highly complex way, with the way that optical light waves interact with those same features. Using AI to unpick this correlation means that ClearSky can predict cloud-free imagery with no optical inputs without a loss of accuracy over long periods of time without clear optical images. That makes it a true game-changer,” he continued.
Following today’s UK launch, Origin Digital and Aspia Space are deepening their collaboration to localise and export the benefits of ClearSky to farmers around the world, as well as developing further potential applications that bring innovative data insights to UK agriculture.
See ClearSky & Origin Digital press release
At Origin Digital, we build advanced agricultural software that enables organisations to engage with their farmer and grower customers about the output from their land.
Our solutions inform better on-farm and business decision making, enabling long-term profitability and stronger relationships through sustainable input efficiency.
As the go-to-market technology arm of Origin Enterprises PLC, which has relationships with over 37,000 farms, we deliver high-quality field-level benchmarking and insights that elevate performance and reduce risk.
Clearsky.vision: No More Clouds & Shadows
Tired of looking at clouds? ClearSky Vision uses artificial intelligence and radar imagery to remove clouds, shadows, and image artifacts from optical images. So you can enjoy clean and cloudless Sentinel-2 data.
Le vieux Jardinier, 1885, de Émile Claus
High-Clearance Robotic Irrigation System to be Studied in Iowa
The project aligns nutrient application timing to a crop’s nutrient needs to improve efficiency and reduce nutrient loss.
GeoPard, Origin Digital Form Partnership to Deliver Precision Agriculture Solutions to Ukraine
This partnership brings together GeoPard’s specialism in automated precision agriculture analytics software with Origin Digital’s agronomic and technical expertise.
Vaches traversant la Lys, 1899, de Émile Claus
eAgronom Raises $7.4M to Tackle Emissions with Farming-Based Carbon Credits
Funding will be used to expand to new markets, including outside the European Union.
La récolte du lin, De vlasoogst, 1904, de Émile Claus
Future Farming (NL)
> Autonomous tractors: Are other manufacturers following John Deere?
John Deere recently announced its first autonomous tractor, which is as good as market-ready. Will other manufacturers follow? Future Farming did a survey among several tractor manufacturers.
> Trimble virtual farm gets farmers started with precision farming
Trimble’s virtual farm is an interactive online experience for farmers across the world to immerse themselves in precision agriculture. In this new online tool, users walk through a digital farm and identify common challenges they encounter on a day-to-day basis.
> Market update: Report: Precision ag market to exceed US$ 20.36 Bn by 2032
Precision farming guidance systems remain highly sought-after, accounting for 2/5th of the global precision farming market through 2032, according to a report by Fact.MR.
> Automation: Canada invests in autonomous agriculture
The “Standard Data Platform for Autonomous Agriculture” project is focused on bringing digital technologies and automation to the farm.
> Drones: Titan Machinery Ukraine now dealer of XAG spraying drones
Titan Machinery Ukraine, a globally active agricultural machinery and farming solutions company, forms a partnership with XAG, the chinese producer of (spraying) drones. An official dealer contract was recently signed, the latest 2022-model spraying drones are to be delivered imminently.
> Field Trials podcast – a grain grower’s perspective on Nexat
German ag-tech developer NEXAT is marketing an all-in-one autonomous platform designed to address compaction, labour, and a variety of other crop production issues. Speaking to Future Farming, grain and oilseed grower Clinton Monchuck of Saskatchewan, Canada, offers some initial thoughts and questions about the technology.
> 15 universal autosteer systems to choose from
The number of universal autosteer systems to choose from has increased from 12 last year to 15 this year. Find the answers to all your questions and the prices in our updated buyers guide.
> How AI can help farmers “climate-proof” their acres
According to ClimateAi, transitioning precision agriculture from reactive to predictive can help farmers maximize yield, quality, resource efficiency, and financial stability/profits while reducing GHG emissions per ton.
> Machinery: New strategy CNH Industrial with focus on innovation
CNH Industrial presented a new corporate strategy for the coming years. The manufacturer wants to take a leading role when it comes to innovation.
> Drones: Agricultural drones that you can buy!
This video is part 2 of our drone catalogue series, showing drones that are available for purchase.
> Spraying technology: Bayer DriftRadar automatically prevents spray drift
Bayer’s integrated drift management system “DriftRadar” automatically prevents spray drift to buffer zones and zones where no crop protection agent is allowed.
> Sustainability: British start-up announces hybrid powertrain for tractors
Atomictractor is developing a zero emissions power unit as an OEM and aftermarket solution for tractors. It’s also developing a small tractor powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.
> Growing at fixed distances with Controlled Row Farming
Amazone, in collaboration with Agravis and Schmotzer, is investigating a new arable method in which crops are grown in fixed rows.
Verdant aims to be the (robotic) king of carrot weeders, TechCrunch, by Brian Heater (feat. Verdant Robotics)
Agtech is a massive industry aching to be disrupted by robotics. It’s a big category that’s going to require a number of solutions to various problems, though lately it’s been hit by a number of false starts. Abundant Robotics, for instance, went under, only to be resurrected by a new brand currently exploring the equity crowdfunding route. Meanwhile, strawberry-picking Traptic quite literally took itself out of the field, getting snapped up by Bowery for vertical farming applications.
Founded in 2018, East Bay-based Verdant Robotics has raised $21.5 million to date, including an $11.5 million Series A, back in 2019. The firm appears to be casting its net fairly wide, though it’s starting specifically with carrot crops, offering up its system through a RaaS (robotics as a service) model to select farmers.
Meule de foins, Hooiberg, 1905, de Émile Claus
Natalité en berne / Declining birth rate
Leaf is helping Bayer ‘quickly expand’ FieldView’s digital partnerships, AFN, by guest contributor: G. Bailey Stockdale
Bayer Crop Science’s digital agriculture arm, Climate, first launched FieldView in 2015 to help growers make data-driven decisions to maximize returns on every acre. This digital farming platform allows growers to collect, store and analyze their data in one place with compatibility across many equipment types and connectivity to multiple farm management software systems.
A key focus for FieldView is to connect partners via an API to give farmers more ways to access and use their data. The goal, they say, is to give the farmers the availability of their data, wherever they want it, whenever they want it.
La Récolte des betteraves, De Bietenoogst, 1890, de Émile Claus
10 startups join Endeavor & FMO’s startup cohort to accelerate agrifoodtech in Africa, AFN, by Jessica Pothering
Venture capital investment in Africa is off to a roaring start, surpassing $1 billion in just the first seven weeks of the year. One sector that isn’t getting as much traction as it needs to: agrifoodtech.
“This is a challenging sector,” Maurice Scheepens, senior investment officer of Dutch development bank FMO, tells AFN. “There are many smallholder farmers and consumers on the African continent, yet supply chains are completely fragmented. Everyone is losing at the moment.”
“Investments in solutions that combine a high-tech angle with a high-touch approach with farmers are particularly effective in addressing these challenges,” he continues, adding that increased investment in such technologies “should help to increase farmers’ income, reduce food losses, and improve food safety and traceability for consumers.”
To prime the VC pipeline, 10 startups have been selected to participate in an agrifoodtech investment readiness program hosted by Endeavor South Africa, with support from FMO. The companies, which hail from five African countries and the US, will participate in a year-long program that has been designed to address African agrifoodtech ventures’ unique challenges and opportunities, particularly capital access.
“Our focus was on finding African agrifoodtech businesses that have unique tech-enabled solutions, are addressing a global problem with a proven business model and have the ability to scale quickly,” adds Alison Collier, managing director of Endeavor SA’s.
She says the program also screened for businesses that are “at an inflection point, where access to the right business mentor or investor is going to fast-track growth.”
La Berge Rangée, avant 1924, de Émile Claus (1849–1924)
Sur le bord de la Lys, Aan de Boorden Van De Lys, de Émile Claus (1849–1924)
ProXalys raises funds to reinvent supply chain in Francophone Africa, AFN, by Lucy Ngige
ProXalys, a B2B e-commerce solution modernizing supply chain processes in Senegal, has raised $150,000 in a pre-seed round.
The round was led by Haskè Ventures, a VC firm focused on French-speaking Africa.
The funds will be used for building out ProXalys’ physical infrastructure, such as warehousing and logistics, as well as for tech development.
Founded in 2021 with the aim of modernizing agrifood supply chain processes in the informal service sector, ProXalys wants to expand not only in Dakar but to other cities in Senegal and eventually other Francophone African countries.
>> Why it matters:
From the outset, ProXalys has been focused on reviving Senegal’s agricultural value chain by boosting linkages between producers and informal retailers. According to Haskè Ventures, there are around 100 billion francs ($150 million) in post-harvest losses each year in Senegal due to a lack of market access for farmers.
“Since the beginning, we have distributed agricultural products to the informal retailers with a focus on local onions, local potatoes, and local rice from the north of Senegal. After three months of operations, we included [fast-moving consumer goods],” said ProXalys founder Thierno Sakho.
Ag groups sue EPA over chlorpyrifos revocation rule
Over 20 agricultural groups are bringing a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, seeking to halt, and ultimately revoke, the ban of chlorpyrifos — an insecticide used by row crop and specialty farmers.
In a news release, the groups said, “When the government agency entrusted with making science and evidence-based decisions to protect human health ignores the findings of its own scientists, there must be accountability.”
The agricultural stakeholders taking legal action are first seeking an injunction of the rule to prevent what they argue would be the first wave of significant, irreparable damage the chlorpyrifos revocation would cause if it were to take effect on the Feb. 28 implementation date. The groups are ultimately seeking vacatur of the rule where it conflicts with well-established, properly developed science — specifically, the 11 uses found safe.
A Deeper-Dive Into Ultra-Processed Foods, And Metabolism, By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — December 27, 2021
A recent Newsweek report on the toxicity of ultra-processed foods was based on a carefully performed study comparing the responses of 20 individuals to both unprocessed and ultra-processed foods. It is worthwhile, as citizen-scientists, to look at the study for ourselves. We cannot argue the dots but may disagree with how they connect.
Scientists closer to understanding domestication of corn
Iowa State University scientists are learning how to peer back through millennia of domestication to learn how a wild grassy plant known as teosinte developed into corn, the modern cash crop grown across the globe. The research allows scientists to compare genes in corn against its wild ancestor, which could help plant breeders identify advantageous traits that may have been bred out of teosinte over the centuries.
Grande gagnante : l'Arabie Saoudite / Big winner Saudi Arabia (Bloomberg Newsletter)
Les transporteurs rois du monde / Freight Bonnanza (Bloomberg Newsletter)
Tracteur agricole ancien : Le Percheron / Old French tractor
How urban is the world? by Hannah Ritchie (September 27, 2018 - Last updated on April 30, 2020)
In our entry on Urbanization we look at the long-run history of urban populations. By 1800, urban shares were still well below 10 percent, even across today's rich countries.2It wasn't until the 20th century that rates of urbanization really began to increase substantially. This is seen in the second half of the century in particular.But how urban is the world today? How many people live in urban areas?
Love Was Harder in Premodern Europe, By Malcolm Cochran
While humans have certainly always fallen in love, it was often difficult and dangerous to pursue.
Love is the most common reason Americans get married or move in together. With such overwhelming agreement, it’s easy to forget that love is a modern luxury. While humans have certainly always fallen in love, it was often difficult and dangerous to pursue.
At the most basic level, love was limited by geography. In early modern Europe, the royalty and upper aristocracy sometimes courted and married across great distances, but the romantic range for the vast majority of people was as far as they could walk or ride. In his book, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800, the English Historian Laurence Stone notes that in 17th century England, almost eighty percent of local gentry married someone in their own county. Among the peasantry, ninety percent married within a ten-mile radius.
Ironically, the upper classes, who had the largest geographic reach, had the least control over whom they married. Stone writes that if wealthy parents did not select their child’s spouse outright, they would at least retain veto power over the relationship. The poorer the family, the less property the parents had “to withhold as a threat” if their children chose an unacceptable mate.
When choosing their child’s partner, wealthy parents, especially aristocratic ones, usually sidelined love and affection in favor of social and economic gain.
30 Hilarious Scientific Jokes That Will Test Your Intelligence to the Limits, by David Graham
If you get all of these, you can claim to be a genius.
Think yourself to be a genius and a science type? Here is your chance to find out, because if you get these 30 hilarious jokes then you are probably a genius or at least super intelligent!
Disclaimer: I can’t promise getting all these jokes proves you are genius or even intelligent, but I can theorize that it means you’re likely of high intellect… Maybe… And thus if you get them all, you can claim to be an intellectual genius… Maybe…
I read a book on antigravity. I couldn’t put it down!
Q: What did one tectonic plate say when it bumped into the other?
A.: Sorry! My fault.
Q: A horse walks into a bar and says:
“On a right angle triangle with sides X, Y and Z, if X and Z are perpendicular, which side is opposite the right angle?”
The barman says: “Y, the long face.”
Einstein loved horror movies. But he always used to sit really close to the screen, because he hated the idea of spooky action at a distance.
Q: What did the biologist wear to impress his date?
A.: Designer genes.
Q: When is red not red?
A.: When it is infrared.
A science teacher tells his class, “Oxygen is a must for breathing and life. It was discovered in 1773.”
A student responds, “Thank God I was born after 1773! Otherwise, I would have died without it.”
Q: Why did Mickey Mouse decide to go to space?
A.: To see Pluto.
Q: Argon walks into a bar. The barman says: “I’m sorry, we don’t serve noble gases in here.”
A.: Argon doesn’t react.
There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don’t.
Q: Why do mathematicians struggle with dating?
A.: Because they can’t solve the equation of love.
Q: What is the quickest way to determine the sex of a chromosome?
A.: Pull down its genes.
Statisticians never die. They just get broken down by age and sex.
Hear the one about the constipated mathematician? He had to work it out with a pencil.
Q: What did one ion say to another?
A.: I’ve got my ion you.
Q: A neutron walks into a bar and asks how much for a beer.
A.: The bartender replies: “For you, no charge.”
Q: Why are chemists excellent for solving problems?
A.: They have all the solutions.
Q: What do you get if you cross an octopus with a cow?
A.: A reprimand from the scientific integrity and professional ethics committee.
Q: Why is it bad to trust atoms?
A.: They make up everything.
Q: What does Earth say to make fun of the other planets?
“You guys have no life.”
Q: What is a tornado’s favorite classic game to play?
Q: What kinds of books do planets usually like to read?
A.: Comet books.
Q: How do you know that Saturn has been married multiple times?
A.: Because she has a lot of rings.
Q: What did the tree wear to his friend’s pool party?
A.: Swimming trunks.
Q: Did you hear oxygen and magnesium got together?
(Oxygen in the periodic table is O, magnesium is Mg)
Q: The doctor tells a woman that she has only six months to live. He advises her to marry a chemist and move to Toledo. The woman asks, “Will this cure my illness?”
A.: “No,” replies the doctor, “but it will make six months seem like a very long time.”
Q: After sex, one behaviorist turned to another behaviorist and said, “That was great for you, but how was it for me?”
(Behaviorism puts scientific observation of behavior above theorizing about unobservables like thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. So, since the guy couldn’t observe himself, he refused to opine whether or not he had fun because his answer could not be trusted, but his partner's answer could be as it would have been formed through observation. Make sense now? Hilarious I know! I think…)
Q: What was the name of the first Electricity Detective?
A: Sherlock Ohms.
Q.: What do priests say at funerals for boiling water?
A.: Rest in peace, you will be mist.
Q: Why do antibiotics feel left behind in the modern world?
A.: Because they will never go viral.
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Contact: Guy WAKSMAN
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