Startups are transforming the future of European agriculture using technology such as IoT, robotics, and AI to improve farming practices, precision agriculture, livestock management, and crop health.
While today's farmers are more likely to use an iPad than an almanac, they grapple with rising materials prices, global economic challenges, worker shortages, and being at the coalface of climate change.
The agricultural sector is working to stay resilient against these challenges with investment and adoption in new technologies at a scale that increases productivity, yield, and animal health, as well as saving time and reducing wastage.
Today's farmers are looking for analytical insights into the health of their land and crops to determine optimum times for planting, spraying, cultivation, and harvesting
Droppity, based in the Ukraine, uses sensors to measure soil moisture, temperature, air temperature and humidity. Its data analytics platform forecasts weather and precipitation. The corresponding app also works with satellite images of farm fields to easily track field vegetation and identify anomalies in crop fields or orchards.
The future of farming is less resource intensive and more sustainable. German start-up Crop.Zone has developed the volt.fuel Electrical Weeding System, which uses an electrical current to destroy weeds.
An alternative to harmful herbicides, it only affects the plants treated and kills the affected plant to the root — without chemical toxicity, residues or the development of weed resistance. It is also used in desiccation applications and seedbed preparation.
The company has raised €11 million in funding over two rounds.
Meanwhile, in the UK, Small Robot Co is reimagining farming to make food production sustainable. It's developing an entirely new model for ecologically harmonious, efficient and profitable farming using robotics and artificial intelligence. It calls this "Per Plant Farming."
The company has been focusing on prototypes such as SprayBot and the commercially available Tomv4 robot, and Wilma advice engine.