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Ag Industry Brief: Cargill Partners with Feed Analysis Tech Startup, Crop Enhancement Expands Team, Milk Wars Wage On, more

July 9, 2017

Cargill Partners with Consumer Physics on Hand-Held Feed Analysis Tech

Cargill Animal Nutrition is collaborating with Israeli startup Consumer Physics over a new technology platform for US dairy producers called Reveal. Reveal combines Consumer Physics’ SCiO, a small handheld Near-Infrared (NIR) spectrometer (pictured), with Cargill’s forage lab analysis platform, to provide dairy farmers with real-time analysis of their corn silage, haylage and dry hay on the farm to understand its content. This can help farmers to improve the diet of their herd and improve feeding efficiency. The University of Wisconsin has shown dry matter variation of 6-10% between lots of both alfalfa and corn silages. With today’s precision diets, those variations in dry matter can result in lost production, wasted nutrients, or both. Read more about the hand-held platform here.

Pest Control Company Crop Enhancement Expands Team

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based pesticide and fertilizer startup Crop Enhancement has appointed Damian A. Hajduk, Ph.D as VP of research and development. Hajduk will lead efforts to expand the range of applications for Crop Enhancement’s technology, which aims to improve crop yields, eliminate or minimize pesticide use, and enable precise and effective delivery of active ingredients and fertilizers. To accelerate commercialization of its technology, Crop Enhancement also has formed an advisory board — including Marcus Meadows-Smith, CEO of BioConsortia formerly at Bayer CropScience, and Mary Shelman, most recently director of Harvard Business School’s Agribusiness Program – as well as hired Eric Flora joins as field development manager and Mark Russell as market development executive.

The Milk War Wages On

Even government regulators are having trouble agreeing how alternative dairy products like soy milk should be regulated and whether these products can bear the label milk as opposed to a label that indicates they are a milk substitute. You can read more about a series of contentious internal emails between the FDA and USDA on the topic here.

Adapt-N Integrates with John Deere API

Agronomic Technology Corp recently announced that its Adapt-N technology is now compatible with the John Deere Operations Center. Adapt-N is a nitrogen diagnostics, insights, and in-season recommendations platform. Read more here.

Campbell’s Soup Acquires Pacific Foods for $700m to Boost Organic Footprint

Major food product maker Campbell’s Soup recently purchased Oregon-based organic product maker Pacific Foods for $700 million in cash. According to a statement from Campbell’s, the acquisition is intended to help the global food company expand into the rapidly-growing organic food space. Read more here.

Arkansas Considers Ban on Dicamba Herbicide After Drift Reports Mount

After over 500 complaints from farmers alleging that dicamba herbicide drift caused harm to their crops, Arkansas’ Plant Board recently voted to put a 120-day ban on the use of the chemical and to increase penalties for violations of the ban to $25,000. Primarily used in soybean and cotton production to eradicate invasive pigweed, the chemical has caused other rashes of crop damage across the US, which you can read about here.

Axereal Raises $171m to Develop its Malting and Food Processing Businesses

Axereal Group, a European cereal collector and the leading global maltster, has raised €150m ($171 million) in private equity funding from Singapore state investment firm Temasek and French agribusiness Unigrains. Read more here.

Benson Hill Biosystems Partners with GDM Seeds to Accelerate Soybean Breeding

Benson Hill Biosystems, an agricultural technology company focused on improving crop performance using big data analytics and plant genomics, is now collaborating with GDM Seeds, a global soybean research, development, and commercialization company. GDM will leverage CropOS, Benson Hill’s cognitive platform, to improve and enhance its soybean research program worldwide. Read more here.

Cargill Makes Strategic Investment in Plant-Based Animal Feed Biz Delacon

Delacon, a phytogenic feed additives company, and major agricultural products provider Cargill are partnering to advance the market presence of natural, plant-based feed additives on a global scale, and meet changing consumer preferences on what animals are fed and how food is produced. The deal includes a minority equity investment from Cargill. Terms were not disclosed. Read more here.

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

  • Industry members are urging the USDA to start over on its proposed rule to update its biotechnology regulations, reports The Daily Intake.
  • Investors may soon use their leverage to encourage companies to adopt more climate-focused and sustainable practices, reports Inside Climate News.
  • Developers are pushing forward with an agtech ‘mega campus’ in Research Triangle Park, reports Triangle Business Journal.
  • About one-quarter of Americans are demanding “organic” water, according to Grub Street.

Image: The SCiO spectrometer.

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