Precision agriculture and the transformation of sustainable farming

Farmers all around the world are still facing unpredictable weather events caused by climate change. Chile’s decade-long megadrought, which was caused by a warmwater “blob”, has decimated rural communities and depleted water supplies.

Droughts, which can be volatile in nature, are not only a threat to food production but also cause an increase in consumer prices. This causes economic deficit. According to the United States Department of Commerce, droughts have caused $285billion in economic loss since 1980.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

. Even more troubling?

NASA’s most recent prediction

In some cases, fluctuations in rainfall patterns or increased carbon dioxide may reduce annual crop yields as early and as often as 2030.

Agtech innovations have allowed agronomists in the twenty-first century to better understand the effects of climate changes, combat labor shortages and address food insecurity. Today, the vertical’s classifications can span across

indoor farming

, ag biotech and precision ag.

Agtech market drivers

The world’s largest industry is agriculture, but large areas of the sector remain unserved. This unique market provides plenty of opportunity for VCs as well as startups to unlock all facets the supply chain.

VC agtech activity accelerated over the quarter ending in 2021. It reached a decade peak with

$10.5 million invested in tech startups

Deal value has increased by 58% YoY, According to

PitchBook’s 2021 emerging tech report

The sector generated around $280 billion of revenue in 2020. It is estimated that it will reach $345 million by 2025.

Precision Ag has seen rapid growth among the various segments of the industry.

With more than 450 new companies being founded

In the last ten. The subdivision was worth $7.8B last year. It is expected to increase to $13.9B by 2026.

REPORT

2021 Annual Agtech Report

You can take a closer look to agtech’s record-breaking Year, investment activity, emerging market segments and other important information.

Download this report

What exactly is precision ag, you ask?

Precision agriculture, a farming approach that takes into account spatial and temporal variability in order for it to be more sustainable, is an example of precision agriculture. There are four categories of applications that startups offer to agronomists:

  • Field monitoring and analysis
  • Solutions for robotics in the field
  • Soil sensing analysis
  • Image analytics

Emerging digital products like machinery and robotics improve field operations at levels of seeding harvesting and irrigation. These solutions will scale up in the coming years, resulting in a shift towards local farming practices and a significant reduction of the industry’s carbon footprint.

Precision ag use cases

Precision agriculture solutions make use of less land, water or herbicides. This allows for optimization and streamlined output via a range technology options:

  • GPS trackers help farmers plant crops in a more precise manner, saving time, energy and maximising yield.
  • Monitoring techniques that collect real-time information in real-time provide predictive information to allow for precise plant selections
  • Drones assist in monitoring crop yields, farming management decisions, and automate spraying pesticides.
  • Infrared sensor technology monitors earth’s physiological, chemical and biological variables
  • Farm bots allow for precise planting, pulling weeds, and monitoring of pests

Here are the top 7 precision ag businesses based on deal size (2021-2099).


*According PitchBook data from March 30, 2022. Data can be subject to change regularly


Raven Industries

  • Latest deal: $2.1B, M&A
  • Deal date: November 30, 2021
  • Total funds raised to date: $2.1B

Raven Industries Inc

Company is a diverse technology company that offers products to customers in all sectors of the industry, including energy, agriculture, energy construction, and defense. The company sells its precision agriculture control products through both original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and aftermarket distribution partners.

The company was acquired in 2005 by

CNH Industrial

The acquisition was worth $2.1billion. CNH Industrial will benefit from the acquisition’s strong innovation capabilities in autonomous- and precision-agriculture technology.


Central Coast Agriculture

  • Latest deal: $99.2M, later-stage VC
  • Date for the deal: January 14, 2019, 2021
  • Total Fundraising to Date: $177.20M

Central Coast Agriculture

Produces bulk crops for precision agriculture and permaculture principles. The company offers services in precision agriculture, site specific crop management, water conservation and seed breading. This allows farmers to have high-quality produce and provides organic food to consumers.

The company raised an estimated $99.2million of Series C capital funding.

Artemis Growth Partners

on January 14, 2020, the company’s estimated pre-money value was at $400 million.


Farmers Edge

  • Latest deal: $98.74M, IPO
  • Date of deal: March 3, 20,21
  • Total Fundraising to Date: $176.68M

Farmers Edge Inc

There are many proprietary technologies that the company owns, including software, hardware and services. The company’s platform digitally transforms data and insights into actionable insights, using a combination agronomic and artificial intelligence as well as connected field sensors.

The company raised $125 millions in its initial public IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange.


AgJunction

  • Latest deal: $71.7M, M&A
  • Deal date: October 7, 2021
  • To date, $17.7M has been raised

AgJunction Inc

Technology is used to improve efficiency and productivity of agricultural activities. It creates products that include technologies that automate and navigate by integrating global positioning satellite systems (GNSS), and other technologies for precision machine direction.

The company agreed to be purchased by the buyer.

Kubota

71.7 million in October 2021. Kubota’s expansion into the agriculture machine automation industry will be possible thanks to this transaction.

  • Latest deal: $27.5M, early-stage VC
  • Deal date: March 8, 20,21
  • Total Funds Raised to date: $27.5M

Pattern Ag

A platform that allows precision agriculture to be understood deeply. The company provides farmers with actionable intelligence through high-resolution mapping the DNA in soil. This allows farmers identify key opportunities that can increase yield and help them save money.

The company raised $27.5m of venture funding via a combination of equity and debt.


Agritask

  • Latest deal: $26M, later-stage VC
  • Date for deal: February 3, 2020
  • Total funds raised to date: $38.44M

Agritask

The platform provides agronomic insight to assist in managing agricultural operations. The company brings together a number of agronomic platforms, tools, or data sources into a single brain. This analyses the data, quantifies any risks, and then generates alerts.

In a deal with, the company raised $26 Million of Series B Venture Capital.

Liechtenstein Group

,
Participation starting at

Smart Agro
BlueOrchard Finance

Bridges Israel

.


Sentera

  • Latest deal: $25M, later-stage VC
  • Deal date: June 9, 2021
  • Total raised so far: $55M

Sentera

A data analytics provider that provides agronomic and cultivation insights. The company uses customizable drones, sensor technology, and data management system that unifies web, mobile, desktop, application program interfaces and databases to provide clear, understandable reports.

The deal, which was managed by

Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec

S2G Ventures

.

Below, you will find more on the latest activity and market drivers for agtech.


Find out about agtech investment in 2021

Download PitchBook 2021 Annual Agtech Report


Find out about the sustainability challenges facing agriculture today

Download Pitchbook’s analyst paper on environmental threats facing agriculture

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