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Ag Industry Brief: ‘Google Glass’ of Drones Launches, IntelinAir Connects to John Deere, AgriMetis Named Startup to Watch, more

November 7, 2016

IntelinAir Connects Ag-MRI Intelligence System with John Deere Operations Center

Aerial imagery analytics company IntelinAir has connected its software platform into the John Deere Operations Center. This integration is intended to enhance the value of IntelinAir’s Ag-MRI (Measurable & Reliable Intelligence) Intelligence System that allows farmers to integrate aerial imagery analytics with their operational and in-field data to deliver a comprehensive health analysis for their fields.

AgriMetis Chosen by C&EN as One of 10 Startups to Watch

Sustainable crop protection product developer AgriMetis was named by Chemical & Engineering News’ (C&EN) as one of 10 startups to watch in 2017. The company ties together biology, biochemistry, and chemistry science to tackle issues in agriculture chemicals development. It aims to create herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. In 2012, the company’s founders, then working at innovation firm Acidophil, came into contact with Syngenta Ventures. To read more about AgriMetis’ trajectory, head over to C&EN for the full story.

Epson & DJI Unveil Hi-Tech Glasses to Drone Pilots Maintain ‘Visual Line of Sight’

DJI and Epson have teamed up to create a ‘Google Glass’-type solution for drones pilots. The two are offering an optimized version of the DJI GoApp on Epson’s Moverio BT-300 AR glasses. The combined solution will provide a transparent, heads-up-display to maintain a visual line of sight (VLOS) of DJI drones, helping agribusiness adhere to FAA regulations regarding VLOS. Currently, drone photographers must peer down at a smartphone or tablet to view the drone camera feed. This is often difficult in bright sunlight, and unsafely takes the user’s eyes off the craft. With the Moverio’s first-person view (FPV) ‘screen,’ pilots can see hazards such as trees, poles, and buildings more easily. For a video example, click here.

WSU Researchers Developing Mobile Manure-to-Phosphorous Fertilizer Technology

Over the next two years, researchers at Washington State University will build and operate a mobile system to fully develop a phosphorous-rich fertilizer in Washington State. Since 2004 WSU researchers have been refining technology to capture excess phosphorus from liquid dairy cow manure in the form of struvite. The “Mobile System for Nutrient (Phosphorus) Recovery and Cost Efficient Nutrient Transport” project will build and operate a mobile struvite system, applying fluidized bed technology, to efficiently extract phosphorous from raw manure and anaerobically digested manure. A USDA Conservation Innovation Grant of $460k, and $150k grant from the Dairy Farmers of Washington, for a total of $610k will fund the demonstration project to further develop the efficiency and effectiveness of the mobile technology. Phosphorus is one of the key elements in the fertilization of cropland, improved production and soil health.

Organic Brand Hain Celestial Launches Cultivate Ventures

Hain Celestial, an organic company operating in Europe, North America, and India, has launched Cultivate Ventures. The corporate venturing arm is dedicated to investing in lifestyle brands, smaller portfolio brands, and concepts as well as incubator opportunities. The platform is intended to benefit from the larger scale and leverage of Hain Celestial’s infrastructure, while contributing to the company’s net sales and margin growth. The company plans to strategically invest and incubate small acquisitions until they reach the scale for the company’s core platforms. Cultivate’s current brands include cold-press juice maker BluePrint, alternative pasta maker DeBoles, snack maker GG Unique Fiber, organic and certified Fair Trade cocoa snack maker SunSpire, rice provider Tilda, and meat-free product maker Yves Veggie Cuisine.

Constellation to Acquire Mexican Brewery from AB InBev’s Grupo Modelo for $600m

The Mexican brewery that serves up popular beers like Corona and Negra Modelo will soon be under Constellation’s ownership. The Obregon-based location is owned by Grupo Modelo, a subsidiary of beverage giant Anheuser-Busch InBev. Constellation is an alcohol beverage company. The brewery, located in Obregon, Mexico, is expected to have four million hectoliters of production capacity with minimal investment and optimization by Constellation after closing. The Obregon brewery is located on Mexico’s west coast in the state of Sonora, and will help service Constellation’s largest beer markets in the western U.S. 

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

  • Organic industry watchdog group Cornucopia Institute filed a lawsuit against some of the largest agribusinesses involved in the industry and their organic certifying agents claiming that the USDA has allowed a flood of hydroponically-produced produce to be illegally labeled and sold as organic.
  • The FDA is having trouble filing hundreds of vacancies despite ramped up hiring, on Washington Post.
  • The FDA has released another FSMA draft guidance document to help manufacturers understand the new rule’s hazard control requirements, on FoodDIVE.
  • The USDA has allotted $333 million to help fund water infrastructure projects in rural communities.
  • General Mills and Organic Valley are upping their organic production in the US, on Organic Authority.

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