Efita Newsletter 949, dated September 7, 2020

Efita Newsletter 949, dated September 7, 2020
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Châtenay-Malabry (FR - 92290), September 7, 2020

EFITA newsletter / 949 - European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment

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Solectrac raising funds for electric tractor development

Solectrac, based in California, USA, is using the StartEngine crowd funding platform to raise cash for the business as it seeks to build more of its 40hp-equivalent battery-powered eUtility tractors and complete development of further models.
See futurefarming.com

Lindsay gives growers crop water usage insights
WaterTrend provides a 7-day water outlook on forecasted crop water usage and precipitation amounts.
See futurefarming.com

Lack of mobile coverage holds Australian farmers back

Australian farmers are being held back investing in the next generation of 4G linked technology.
See futurefarming.com

Good old days (?????): The haymakers par Emile Claus (flamand, 1849 - 1924)


How did we the future yesterday??

See the incredible collection developed by Alain Fraval

Archives of our newsletters in French and English
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FarmSense automates real-time insect monitoring

FlightSensor uses optical sensor technology to automate the process of real-time insect classification and counting.
See futurefarming.com

Drone spraying taking off in Australia

XAG works with drone entrepreneurs from Queensland to provide autonomous spraying solutions.
See futurefarming.com

Good old days (?????): Shepherd of the Pyrenees Painting by Rosa Bonheur



Onset launches new multi-depth soil moisture sensor

Onset’s wireless HOBOnet sensor measures soil moisture and temperature at multiple depths.
See futurefarming.com

Test proves advanced spray control boost accuracy

Research learns Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) works well and also is capable of improving accuracy.
See futurefarming.com

Good old days (?????): Berger des Pyrénées, par Rosa Bonheur, musée Condé, château de Chantilly, France


IDS NXT ocean: grab, label, train, run AI

Intelligent cameras pave the way for future-oriented image processing tasks such as plant growth monitoring, weed detection or checking whether certain object conditions are met. The user-friendly end-to-end AI solution IDS NXT ocean requires neither special knowledge in deep learning nor camera programming.
See futurefarming.com

Chinese future tractor runs on hydrogen

China is well on the way to developing an autonomous tractor powered by hydrogen and fuel cells.
See futurefarming.com

ABN AMRO: global market for ag robots to double in 5 years

According to a recent study from Dutch ABN AMRO bank, the worldwide market for agricultural robots can double in size in 5 years’ time.
See futurefarming.com

Tuberzone CropCast predicts potato size distribution

A remote crop monitoring service is designed to accurately predict the yield, size distribution and value of potato crops.
See futurefarming.com

Good old days (?????): Winter Work, 1883, by George Clausen (1852-1944), Tate Gallery, London


Delicate raspberries first target for Fieldwork robots

Fieldwork Robotics has chosen raspberries as the first target for its robotic fruit and vegetable picking project.
See futurefarming.com

The Robotti: a helping hand in ecology (April 2019)

An autonomous robot named AgroIntelli Robotti will is driving around the test fields of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) today. This high-tech autonomous platform will support ecological processes, forming a bridge between technological applications and ecological principles.
See wur.nl/

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Project SMARAGD (smart mechanisation - automation - robotics for an arable farming sector with growth and sustainability)

Project SMARAGD (smart mechanisation - automation - robotics for an arable farming sector with growth and sustainability) uses the development of light autonomous mechanisation to improve soil quality, increase the resilience and yield of crops and provides opportunities for reducing the CO2 footprint.

Arable farming is scaling up significantly and this demands an increase in the use of bigger and larger machines. However, these larger and heavier machines cause a decrease in soil quality and biodiversity, while increasing soil compaction and crop vulnerability resulting in a reduction in yield.

Technological developments provide opportunities for small-scale and smarter solutions that sustain the soil and save on labour, such as multiple autonomous, small-scale and light-weight vehicles (swarms), fixed track systems, sensing techniques (for weeds and disease recognition), location-specific treatment, etc.

>>> Objective
Over the next four years we will be developing autonomous, robotic and innovative mechanisation for the cultivation of high-yield arable crops and field crops. This smart mechanisation will replace heavy large-scale mechanisation, sustain the soil and result in higher crop yields with a reduction in the use of crop protection products, fertilisers and energy for a growing and sustainable arable farming sector.

>>> Proposed solutions for arable farming
The project delivers new breakthroughs in system innovation for arable farming, which provide an alternative for the increasingly heavier mechanisation with its concomitant negative impact on the sector.

This system innovation leads to financial advantages for arable farmers in distinct ways:

1. Lighter mechanisation means less damage to the soil structure and improved soil quality resulting in higher crop yields.

2. The use of multiple small-scale technologies (robots) provides additional opportunities for intercropping, resulting in a more resilient system with higher yields.

3. The precision technology contributes to the reduced use of crop protection products and fertilisers.

4. The electrical drive creates scope for the desired energy transition in the agricultural sector.

This Public Private Partnership is focused on stimulating system innovation. That means that the approach is more encompassing than simply the production of prototypes. The prototypes are developed with the objective of having them operating in the sector within five years’ time. However, in terms of upscaling there are many questions regarding the integration into current business operations, agreements and ICT standards for the chain and legislation. Developments are required across the sector which demands support and participation from businesses, policy, NGOs and research. SMARAGD is committed to dialogue with these stakeholders and linking with other initiatives.
See wur.nl
See smaragd-smartfarming.nl

Good old days (?????): The Woodcutter's Daughter by Charles Sprague Pearce (1851 - 1914)


SupPlant and ClimaCell want to make precision agtech affordable for Asia’s poorest farmers, AFN, by Jack Ellis

An awful lot of the business of farming comes down to educated guesswork, preparedness for the unexpected, and more than a fair bit of plain old good luck.

Thankfully, technology is taking much of this uncertainty out of agriculture. With sensors that determine soil moisture levels, software that pinpoints specific areas of the field for treatment, and platforms that offer accurate and highly localized weather forecasts, less is left to chance – leading to more efficient deployment of resources, improved yields, and better returns on investment.

But precision ag technologies like these remain out of reach for the majority in many parts of the world. For low-income smallholders working meager plots in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere, installing a constellation of soil probes or climatic sensors on their land is not only unaffordable; in many cases it’s impractical, too.
See agfundernews.com

Barn2Door raises $6m for platform that connects farms and consumers, The Spoon, by Chris Albrecht

This is certainly an opportune time for Barn2Door to raise additional capital. The COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent shuttering of dine in restaurants and general stay-at-home suggestions, has spurred people to adopt online grocery shopping in record numbers. This rising tide has lifted a number independent farm-related boats including a spike in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) memberships, and an increase in sales for sites like CrowdCow and Grass Roots, both of which sells craft meats.

Barn2Door’s tool is also helping usher in a new wave of direct-to-consumer sales. Big brands like Pepsi and Impossible Foods each launched D2C channels this year. Chipotle launched a service allowing consumers to buy direct from its farm suppliers like Niman Ranch and McKaskle Family Farm. And smaller players like regional restaurant suppliers and startup CPG snack brands like Pig Out! and Renewal Mill are selling direct to consumers.

As this pandemic continues here in the U.S., there’s a good chance that buying direct from more sources will become the new normal for people, creating more opportunity for software services like Bar2Door’s.
See thespoon.tech

The forward march of agtech during a pandemic, Forbes, by Jennifer Kite-Powell

"A tractor or a sowing system moving around the field is only part of the puzzle. The next phase is about how, without an experienced operator, you optimize for, and deal with, the possible scenarios that a farmer might have to manage in the field."

"Today, our large ag machines are, in effect, autonomous. The operator is there to deal with the unknowns like steering around things that the GPS didn't pick up," said Henry. "For example, if a pipe burst during sowing, that requires sensors that identify the situation, automation that will fix it and models that deliver the best practice decision making in that situation."

Henry adds that agriculture has become more advanced than the average consumer of its products realizes.

"After healthcare, agriculture is where big data and digital can unlock the greatest amount of economic headroom than any other industry. And that is where tech companies can help farmers."
See forbes.com

Good old days (?????): The Wood Gatherer Painting by Jules Bastien-Lepage


Saga Robotics raises $11m to develop robo-strawberry pickers, AFN, by Richard Martyn-Hemphill

Saga Robotics, a UK and Norwegian startup developing fleets of autonomous strawberry pickers and agri-robots that blast fungus with UV light, has just raised €9.5 million ($11.3 million).

The funding round saw participation from three major European investors: Norwegian sovereign climate investment company Nysnø (formerly known as Fornybar); London-based private equity investor ADM Capital via its food and ag-focused Cibus Enterprise Fund; and Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund, an early-stage investment arm of the Dutch financial services giant Rabobank.
See agfundernews.com/

Canada needs to move faster on agricultural technology investment, The Globe & Mail, by guest contributor: Sean O'Connor

While the next wave of agtech innovation is a long way from harvest season, the growing conditions look promising. We have a Prairie tech ecosystem that’s as strong as it’s ever been, a full suite of new support programs in their early stage of deployment, and a growing list of investors looking to place capital.
See theglobeandmail.com

European Soil Data Centre Newsletter No.122 (May - Jun 2020)
See jrc.ec.europa.eu


This public US university has seen grades soar despite Covid. What's it doing right? By Andrew Gumbel (1 Sep 2020)

Most of Georgia State’s students come from low-income backgrounds hard-hit by the pandemic. The school could serve as a model for others nationwide
See theguardian.com

Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know: And Many Others You Will Find Interesting

Ten Global Trends provides busy people with quick-to-read, easily understandable, and entertaining access to surprising facts that they need to know about how the world is really faring.

Think the world is getting worse? You're wrong: the world is, for the most part, not getting worse. But 58 percent of folks in 17 countries that were surveyed in 2016 thought the world is either getting worse or staying the same rather than getting better. Americans were even more glum: 65 percent thought the world is getting worse and only 6 percent thought it was getting better. The uncontroversial data on major global trends in this book will persuade you that this dark view of the prospects for humanity and the natural world is, in large part, badly mistaken.

World population will peak at 8 to 9 billion before the end of this century as the global fertility rate continues its fall from 6 children per woman in 1960 to the current rate of 2.4. The global absolute poverty rate has fallen from 42 percent in 1981 to 8.6 percent today. Satellite data show that forest area has been expanding since 1982. Natural resources are becoming ever cheaper and more abundant. Since 1900, the average life expectancy has more than doubled, reaching more than 72 years. Of course, major concerns such as climate change, marine plastic pollution, and declining wildlife populations are still with us, but many of these problems are already in the process of being ameliorated as a result of the favorable economic, social, and technological trends that are documented in this book.

You can't fix what is wrong in the world if you don't know what's actually happening. Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know will provide busy people with quick-to-read, easily understandable, and entertaining access to surprising facts that they need to know about how the world is really faring.
See amazon.com

American curiosity: Will Jerry Falwell Jr’s (ex-head of the evangelical Liberty University) fall from grace end his influence over Trump voters?

Granda was a 20-year-old pool attendant at a Miami hotel when he met the Falwells in 2012. Without naming him, Falwell said in his statement: “During a vacation over eight years ago, Becki and I met an ambitious young man who was working at our hotel and was saving up his money to go to school … We were impressed by his initiative in suggesting a local real estate opportunity.
In an explosive interview with Reuters news agency, published on Monday, Granda said: “Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room.” The encounters, over a six-year period, allegedly took place “multiple times a year” in hotels in New York and Miami, and the Falwells’ home in Virginia.
Falwell’s alleged behaviour was in stark contrast to the strict code of conduct that students at Liberty are obliged to follow. Classes start with prayers, alcohol is banned on campus, dorms are strictly segregated, students are subject to a curfew, and “modest” dress is required. Three times a week, students attend “convocation”, a potent mix of evangelical worship and political rally.

The university’s “honour code” says: “Sexual relations outside of a biblically ordained marriage between a natural-born man and a natural-born woman are not permissible at Liberty.” Prospective faculty members are vetted for their conservative theological views.
See theguardian.com

International Scholars Must Resist the American Campaign to Inject Racial Tribalism Into Science, by Andreas Bikfalvi and Marcel Kuntz
See quillette.com

Good old days (?????): Le Retour Du Troupeau par Charles Sprague Pearce


The doctor and a patient

Dr O’Mahony tells his patient, “I have bad news and worse news, John.”

“Oh dear,” John replies, “What’s the bad news?”

The doctor says, “You only have 24 hours to live.”

“That’s terrible,” says the patient, “How can the news possibly be worse?”

Dr O’Mahony replies, “I’ve been trying to contact you since yesterday.”

Good old days (?????): The girl raking by V. van Gogh


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Contact: Guy WAKSMAN
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