The story of Israel’s founding is deeply intertwined with the cultivation of its stubborn terrain. Early pioneers made great strides “making the desert bloom” using sometimes crude tools. Now, nearly a century later, a new breed of innovative pioneers are developing cutting-edge technologies to ensure that Israeli farming, and indeed, agriculture worldwide, continues to flourish.
Israel’s unique blend of agricultural and technological knowhow explains the country’s prodigious output of agtech innovations. Between 2014 and 2019, Israeli agtech companies raised a total of $759 million over 250 investments. What’s more, nearly a quarter of these funds have gone toward developing technologies that are at the field’s cutting edge. One area of particular interest has been agricultural IoT, and for good reason.
Despite decades of progress in farming techniques, many modern practices remain wasteful. Much of this waste comes from blanket approaches to irrigation, fertilization, planting and harvesting in large-scale agriculture. Until recently, it was simply too time consuming to gather data from the field with any precision.
With the rise of smart IoT farming devices, these barriers to granular, real-time data are evaporating. Farmers can now deploy connected sensors capable of up-to-date readings of crop health, moisture and maturity, down to the level of the individual plant. Furthermore, purpose-built AI can gather this data and parse it into practical insights farmers can utilize in their daily crop management.
The following Israeli startups are pioneering innovations like these and helping spearhead a new, global agricultural revolution:
· Founded in 2014, CropX quickly rose to prominence through deep integration of IoT and analytics designed to improve farming practices. By combining soil-based sensors with weather data and computing it in the cloud, CropX can alert farmers to anomalies in the soil and also guide more efficient irrigation and crop management. The company has already gained global traction.
· Prospera is an agtech company whose cloud platform helps major growers handle the immense volumes of data produced by IoT devices. Founded in 2014, Prospera has rapidly scaled its software to accommodate leading agricultural partners across three continents. Prospera provides sophisticated farmers the backend tools needed to automate, orchestrate and optimize every aspect of their agricultural operations.
· Founded in 2015, Taranis is a leading precision agriculture intelligence platform that uses sophisticated computer vision, data science and deep learning algorithms to effectively monitor fields. The system enables farmers to make informed decisions by detecting early symptoms of weeds, uneven emergence, nutrient deficiencies, disease or insect infestations, water damage and machinery problems. Overseeing millions of acres of farmland worldwide, Taranis gives farmers the tools to address issues in real-time, increasing yields and cutting costs.
With global populations climbing and climates warming, the need for innovation to help feed the world is vital. Smart technologies like agricultural IoT show great promise in helping farmers feed the coming generation – and do so sustainably. Living in a country which is 60 percent desert, it makes sense that Israeli innovators are busy pioneering new technologies at agriculture’s leading edge. Israel is already experiencing tomorrow’s agriculture challenges, and has been inventing their way out of them for years.