Israeli start-up SupPlant has raised US $ 27 million for its irrigation platform that helps farmers optimise water usage and increase crop yields. According to CEO Ori Ben Ner of SupPlant the funds will allow SupPlant to invest more in the Australian market and open other markets.
More and more Australian growers are impacted by global warming. Ori Ben Ner emphasises SupPlant can help farmers in Australia fight climate change. SupPlant currently works with 31 crop types across 14 countries.
SupPlant’s AI-powered system uses an advanced algorithm that analyses live data from plants, soil, and meteorology sensors, and translates it into irrigation recommendations and actionable insights. Sensors are placed at the fruit, leaf, and stem and trunk of the plant, as well as in deep and shallow soil. These sensors monitor plant stress, plant and fruit growth patterns real-time, as well as soil water content.
Changes in plant size can signal when plants are under extreme stress from, for example, a heatwave or insufficient water supply. With this information, farmers can be more proactive and provide plants the exact amount of water they need, and when they need it.
The company has recently released a new API product, a sensor-less version of its system. This system works with statistical data about growing conditions in any given region of the world, and provides irrigation recommendations based on this data.
The start-up says that the vast majority of farmers can’t afford to outfit their fields with multiple sensors and sophisticated tech systems. SupPlant therefore tries to make this technology accessible to all farmers, also smallholder farmers.
The $ 27 million will also help SupPlant further develop this sensor-less API. This year SupPlant aims to provide the technology to 1 million smallholders in Africa and India.