FarmWise accelerates release of its weeding implement

The funding allows FarmWise to expand the capabilities of its automated mechanical weeder into new crops. - Photo: FarmWise
The funding allows FarmWise to expand the capabilities of its automated mechanical weeder into new crops. - Photo: FarmWise

FarmWise has raised US $ 45 million in a Series B funding round. The Californian robotics company is accelerating the release of its vegetable weeding implement Vulcan.

FarmWise expects the first of its field demo with the implement Vulcan in the US will happen at the end of the American summer. “We believe this product is one that can be scaled and will be sold to many”, Pauline Canteneur, Head of Business Development at FarmWise says.

Removing weeds with sub-inch precision

Monitoring plant-level data, the FarmWise system mechanically removes individual weeds with sub-inch precision. Leveraging a fleet of automated weeders, the company has been operating as a custom service provider to large vegetable farms across California and Arizona for three commercial seasons, increasing revenues threefold year over year.

The funding also allows FarmWise to expand the capabilities of its automated mechanical weeder into new crops “We‘ve released models for kale, artichokes and processing tomatoes since the beginning of the 2022 Salinas season, in February”, Ms Canteneur explains.

“We started gathering images on corn and soybeans and we will apply the same AI detection techniques we‘ve developed in the past but for the purpose of weed identification. We will start running pilots with a few farms in the 2023 season in the US.”

Text continues below image

FarmWise has been operating as a custom service provider to large vegetable farms across California and Arizona for three commercial seasons. - Photo: FarmWise
FarmWise has been operating as a custom service provider to large vegetable farms across California and Arizona for three commercial seasons. - Photo: FarmWise

Reliability

Ms Canteneur says the new implement FarmWise is bringing to market is – by design – going to set new standards for the farm robotics industry in terms of reliability. “Because of its ruggedness of the robotics equipment, ease-of-operation, the tractor driver experience within the cab, the interacting with the implement and versatility. It has the capacity to handle many different scenarios in terms of weed pressure, crop density, field conditions and configuration.”

The funding round was led by leading agtech venture firms Fall Line Capital and Middleland Capital, with participation from GV and Taylor Farms, a leading grower and processor of leafy greens and fresh vegetables.

Existing investors Calibrate Ventures, Playground Global, SVG Ventures and the venture arm of Wilbur Ellis also participated in the round. To date, FarmWise has raised $ 65 million in equity. With this round, Clay Mitchell, Managing Director of Fall Line Capital and a fifth-generation Iowa farmer, joins the FarmWise board of directors.

Cost-effective and sustainable solutions

“We started FarmWise with the conviction that farmers should be supplied with cost-effective, sustainable solutions to feed a growing world”, CEO Sebastien Boyer of FarmWise points out. “Artificial intelligence is the ideal technology to make this a reality. With rising costs in the agricultural industry, we’re continuing to expand our technology to work with many more farmers.”

After 15,000 commercial hours, FarmWise has enriched its plant database with over 450 million scanned images of individual crops. “Over the past two years, it has been exciting to watch FarmWise establish itself as a reliable solutions-partner to many in our industry,” says Ted Taylor, Head Business Development at Taylor Farms. “We are thrilled to be supporting FarmWise as a customer, and now investor, as they move into the future.”

Increase in agricultural input costs

With supply chain disruptions and rising global inflation, farmers are expected to face an increase in agricultural input costs. According to Purdue University, 60% of U.S. producers who took part in a recent survey, expect input prices to rise by 30% over the next 12 months.

FarmWise is already working with thirty different farms to alleviate the rising production costs in the industry. “We decided to invest in FarmWise because we believe that the technology the team has brought to market can unlock significant savings for producers in and beyond the vegetable market at a time when it’s most needed,” said Clay Mitchel, Managing Director of Fall Line Capital.

FarmWise already offers the Titan FT-35 weeding robot, which you can find in our Buyer’s Guide.

Groeneveld
René Groeneveld Correspondent for Australia



Beheer