Monsanto’s Deep Learning Agenda

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Monsanto has long been a significant player in modern day agriculture and a forward thinker relative to modern day farming techniques supported by data.

In its latest move, Monsanto is partnering with a company called Atomwise to leverage deep learning and AI to identify and solution for molecules that can help better protect crops against disease and pests. The approach has inverted traditional thinking off trying to kill off disease…in this approach they are looking to find defenders of disease before it emerges.

 

Here’s the punch line….it takes an average of 11 years for a crop protection market and costs ~$250 Million to produce…this could greatly reduce the time and costs required while helping the industry attack negative forces before they become devastating and costly.

Apple Sucking Autonomous Vehicles?

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Google Ventures (now know as GV) continues its march to leverage and be involved in all things digital. This time they are leading the investment round in Abundant Robotics, a company building apple picking robots that could eventually handle harvesting a multitude of crops. The breakthrough is how they have tackled some of the challenges of picking the apples using vacuums…helps to avoid becoming a manufacturer of apple sauce with traditional hand grabbing mechanisms.

This space has exploded recently and Abundant Robotics joins a growing group of hardware manufacturers developing autonomous equipment for use on farms, both on the ground and in the sky. Others players include Harvest Automation, Deepfield Robotics and the Autonomous Tractor Company

Agriculture in the U.S. and much of the world is facing a tremendous labor shortage today. Meanwhile, the World Bank estimates we’ll need to make 50 percent more food by 2050 to sustain the growing, global population, with climate change decreasing crop yields by 25 percent outdoors.

Clear Coffee Launches In UK and Slovakia

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Clear coffee is apparently a possibility says the brother and co founder duo of Adam and David Nagy.

They have invented a way to remove the dark colored appearance of normal coffee, keep your teeth from endless staining, and still deliver you the full dose of caffeine you are looking for. The product is called Clr Ciff (or Clear Coffee with no vowels) and claims to be free of preservatives, artificial flavors, sweeteners and or stabilizers…in fact ingredients simply state water, coffee and caffeine.

Big question will be how people feels about adding milk to their clear beverage…making an even merkier looking beverage.  Consumers in UK and Slovakia will be first to find out

The Future Of Farming Is Here?

vertical-farmImagine a farm scenario that increases productivity by 130%, uses 95% less water, involves no pesticides and can be harvested 24 times per year, rain, snow or shine.

Aerofarm, a new jersey based vertical farm company has become a pioneer in this type of farming. What’s driving the explosive growth in this areas…the globe climate changes which are driving significant draught scenarios in many places where farming flourished. Aerofarm isn’t the cheapest game in town. Not yet at least. They will need to invest significantly in the latest robotics and automation capabilities to drive costs down significantly. They are facing high energy costs of running the plants, facility costs of building out the factories with optimized fixtures…all leading to a premium, yet higher quality, sales price initially.

Carnegie Mellon’s University of Computer Science is aggressively working to address the paradigm shift in how we grow food….using government grants to invest heavily in the development of sensing technology, robotics and AI technologies to improve overall crop management using data driven decision making. This is a big market opportunity with growth of agricultural robots set to increase from 32,000 units in 2016 to almost 600,000 units by 2024…creating a ~$75B market.

Implications will change how large scale suppliers invest for the future…quickly retiring old farming techniques susceptible to further climate impacts with faster, better and more scalable solutions. Orange groves, apple orchards and generally vegetables of any type will be produced at scale in a fraction of the time as traditional impacts.