Proveye, an Irish AgTech company which is pioneering the use of digital image data for both agriculture and environment protection, has been awarded €225,000 in funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) through the ARTES 4.0 Downstream Applications Demonstration Fund.
The funding will support the company’s commercialisation of its grassland management platform which Proveye plans to bring to market in 2023.
Proveye integrates Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), satellites and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology into a single platform that represents a new generation (or higher level) of accuracy and clarity in grassland mapping for agricultural advisors, seed suppliers, agri-input providers, commodity brokers and government agencies.
The funding builds on the success of Proveye’s previous work with ESA on automated satellite image processing and UAV image analysis of grass swards.
Grass is the most important agricultural crop in the world, occupying about 70 per cent of agricultural land and supporting an industry worth about US$1T.
The management of grasslands currently lacks the precision available for cereal crops, with a farmer typically walking just five per cent of the farm area before making management decisions.
With fertiliser prices increasing by 150 per cent in the past year and pressures on farmers and food processors to produce food more sustainably, grassland advisors need digital services to manage large areas of land efficiently.
The Proveye grass management platform integrates satellite and UAV imagery, using AI methods, to map grass yield and grass quality.
Real-time information on yield is critical for managing grazing, grass forage, fertilisation and grass husbandry.
Proveye, a University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out based at NovaUCD in Dublin and which has previously completed the ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Ireland programmme, is also validating the platform in Ireland, Europe and New Zealand by engaging with pioneering customers through pilot field trials.
Jerome O’Connell, CEO and co-founder, Proveye, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding from the European Space Agency to further advance the commercialisation of our grass management platform.
“Through our platform, agri-advisors and input-providers will for the first time be able to provide the farmer with a complete near-100 per cent accurate picture of their grasslands in near real-time.
“This will enable a farmer to see 100 per cent of the farm area down to plant-by-plant detail, which will be a game changer in terms of productivity and sustainability of grass-based agriculture.”
Professor Nick Holden, UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering, co-founder Proveye, said: “Our technology has the potential to revolutionise grass management not only for the dairy and beef sectors, but also for industries like renewable energy production and grass-based biorefining.”
Next week Proveye will be attending the World Agri-tech Innovation Summit in London as one of the featured start-ups in the TechHub arena.
Now in its 10th year, the summit has become the annual meeting place for the global agtech industry.
Earlier this year Proveye was named the Ornua Most Innovative AgTech Start-up of 2022 following the completion of the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre’s inaugural Agccelerator programme.
n Proveye is an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) company.
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